Liverpool's long-term pursuit of Bayern Munich's Xherdan Shaqiri looks to be over, with the player himself saying he expects to stay in Germany.
Bild reports the Swiss international's comments regarding his future, which don't make good reading for any Reds fans hoping to see the attacking midfielder on Merseyside next season (h/t Thomas Zocher on Sky Sports):
I am a player of Bayern Munich as I am under contract with the club. Basically, I believe I will be staying on at Bayern Munich. But as long as the transfer window is open, anything could happen in the very end.
Thus, the 22-year-old looks all but certain to not be moving to Anfield despite being linked with Liverpool for much of the summer, per Nick Lustig in the Daily Star.
This is something of a blow for Brendan Rodgers as, despite impressive work during the transfer window, Shaqiri would have been a dynamic and high-quality addition to the Reds side.
Having lost Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Rodgers has gone about his business in a sensible way, not looking to directly replace the Uruguayan, as that is an almost impossible task.
The Northern Irishman has brought in the likes of Lazar Markovich, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Emre Can.
But as good as these players all are, Liverpool have not brought in anyone who has the quality to swing a game at a moment's notice, as Suarez used to do for Liverpool, and as Shaqiri has proven he is able to do, per football writer Nooruddean Choudry:
No one's gonna replace Suarez but Shaqiri would be a really exciting signing if they can pull that one off.— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) July 7, 2014
He bagged a hat-trick at the World Cup for Switzerland which—while granted was against Honduras—showed off for all to see that Shaqiri is on the road to stardom, per BBC Sport's Kevin Kilbane:
Shaqiri is such a miss for Liverpool as he would have provided something different from what they already have in attack.
With the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling, the Reds have cultivated a blistering forward unit who can devastate opposition sides on the counter-attack.
Shaqiri has the pace to fit into that attack but also has a terrific strength, which is currently lacking at Liverpool, and fine distribution, which would be beneficial to the Reds' current forward players.
His low centre of gravity makes him very difficult to dispossess and, although he was handed only 10 Bundesliga starts last season, he still managed to bag six goals and two assists, per WhoScored.com.
Liverpool have to fight on both European and domestic fronts next season—Champions League football coming courtesy of their second-place Premier League finish last season.
How will Liverpool fare in next season's Premier League?
Currently, they look to be just short of a squad capable of competing on all fronts, but Shaqiri—who will only get better—would have pushed them closer to that goal.
The loss of Suarez will be hugely significant for Liverpool next season, and they may struggle in his absence. The addition of Shaqiri—more than any of Rodgers' other signings—would have covered that loss significantly.
However, he looks to be staying in the Bundesliga, at least for one more season, and that is a big blow for Liverpool.