Writer: Gavin Kelley-Day
Date:Wednesday March 19 2014
With Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri still struggling for game time at Bayern Munich the prospect of him moving on this summer is growing...
There might be two months left of the current season but every club across Europe will already be identifying and sounding out potential new recruits.
Barring a massive end of season slump, Liverpool will qualify for the elite world of the Champions League for a first time since the 2009-10 season.
Such an occurrence brings additional revenue and kudos to the club and will have a direct impact on the calibre of target they are able to acquire.
One big name who has been filling the media's transfer rumour columns in recent days is Swiss international winger Xherdan Shaqiri.
The 22-year-old was first connected with a move to Anfield last summer but stayed at current employers Bayern Munich in the hope that new coach Pep Guardiola would utilise him more than predecessor Jupp Heynckes.
Unfortunately for the former Basle man nothing has changed and he continues to play second fiddle to the likes of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, making the majority of his 23 appearances this term from the bench.
The player's brother and agent, Erdin, has now added to the speculation by telling Swiss newspaper Blick: "Xherdan is 22. At this age, he needs to be playing regularly, which is not currently the case.
"We are waiting now until summer. Then, when clubs make approaches such as Liverpool, Manchester United, Inter Milan and other top clubs, we can listen to their offers.
"That said, Bayern still remains our first point of contact before we talk to other clubs."
The reigning German and European champions spent in excess of £10million to capture Shaqiri in 2012 and are unlikely to let him leave without making a profit on their investment.
Indeed, the Daily Mirror believes a figure of around £16million will be needed to convince the Bavarians to do business.
Shaqiri's present contract at the Allianz Arena ends in 2016 and he has previosuly been connected with Napoli, Juventus and Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Shaqiri is a player I rate very highly. Fast, skilful and versatile, he would be a perfect fit for the style of play implemented by Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers. The transfer fee shouldn't be an issue either given the club, even without Champions League football, has bid more for the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Diego Costa in recent times. With 30 international caps to his name, and three Swiss Super League titles to go alongside an all-conquering first season at Bayern, Shaqiri has plenty of experience to go alongside his prodigious talent. It remains to be seen if the Reds return for January target Yevhan Konoplyanka in the summer but Rodgers will almost certainly strengthen his attacking options as well as patching up a suspect rearguard.
Likelihood (out of 5):
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Date:Wednesday March 19 2014
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