Liverpool Transfer News: Reds Should Focus on Needs, Not Xherdan Shaqiri

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2014

Bayern's Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland controls the ball during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, in Munich, southern Germany, Saturday, March 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

Liverpool have reportedly increased their offer for Bayern Munich star Xherdan Shaqiri, but Brendan Rodgers should fill the Reds' needs before chasing a player at a position of strength for the club.

Swiss newspaper Blick (h/t to the Daily Star's Chisanga Malata) claims Liverpool have improved their offer to £14.2 million, a number close to the Bavarians' valuation of the Swiss international.

Shaqiri remains adamant negotiations are not ongoing, and he took to his Facebook account to let the world know about it (via Malata):

It is the time of year when much is written, but as we all know, there is very little truth behind it. As you all know I am currently on holiday so I am not in talks with other clubs nor have I spoken with any journalists.I have a contract with FC Bayern until 2016. My advisors are in regular contact with the responsible people at FC Bayern so there is no reason for speculation.

Bayern Munich have so far denied they have any interest in selling the young midfielder, but according to the Daily Star, they could be tempted to cash in and replace Shaqiri with French star Antoine Griezmann.

That train of thought ended the moment it became clear the winger would be moving to Atletico Madrid, however, per ESPN FC's Nicholas Rigg:

Let's be clear—Shaqiri is a phenomenal talent who showed the world he was ready for the spotlight during the 2014 World Cup, and with limited opportunities available in Germany, a transfer move isn't unthinkable.

He has the versatility to play every offensive slot in midfield and can even help out farther up the pitch, although he lacks the physical ability to play as a pure striker.

A transfer fee around £14.2 million would seem almost laughably low for such a mercurial talent, especially given the crazy prices we've already seen during the 2014 summer window.

Stranger things have happened, but the low price tag coupled with Shaqiri's insistence nothing is going on suggest this transfer won't come to pass. His breakout campaign at the 2014 World Cup will only increase his value, and it would seem likely Bayern would like to keep the player at this point.

Nobody would complain if the Reds were able to land such a great player for such a low fee, including me. But news of such a signing would immediately be followed by a question every fan has been asking himself for weeks now: What about our actual needs?

Yes, new signing Adam Lallana will miss extended time with a knee injury, as reported by the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce:

But the Reds are absolutely loaded at the position, whether Lallana is able to play immediately or not. Raheem Sterling will certainly start after his phenomenal 2013-14 season. The club spent a lot of money on Lallana—he won't sit on the bench once he returns.

Lazar Markovic? Philippe Coutinho? Even Fabio Borini, if he doesn't leave the club on loan or on a permanent basis. All are capable starters, and all will be demanding minutes during the upcoming season.

Meanwhile, the Reds still haven't signed a quality starter to help out at full-back, arguably the team's biggest need. Javier Manquillo will reportedly join the club on a two-year loan deal, per the Daily Mirror's Ed Malyon, but he's a 20-year-old who hardly played for Atletico Madrid last year.

Gero Breloer/Associated Press

Like Manquillo, Emre Can is a young, talented player who could be great in a couple of seasons. He'll contribute in 2014-15, no doubt, but is the club really expecting him to hold down the fort in his first Premier League season?

Losing Luis Suarez will hurt on the pitch, and Rodgers' frantic search for players who can help replace his production is perhaps understandable. But the Reds lost the 2013-14 Premier League title because of their leaky defence, and heading into the next season, the club hasn't done enough to change that.

Per the BBC's Ben Smith, Dejan Lovren will be the first major defensive signing the club makes this summer:

That's a good start, but it isn't nearly enough for the Reds to be competitive in both the Premier League and UEFA Champions League.

Liverpool don't need more wingers. They don't need more attacking talent, unless they plan on hiring Zdenek Zeman to design their offensive tactics. With the upcoming season drawing ever closer, it's time to start investing in areas of weakness, not strength.