Liverpool’s interest in Xherdan Shaqiri in the January window was never confirmed by anybody with ties to the club, but given summer interest in bringing the Swiss winger to Anfield, plenty of less reputable sources were more than happy to link him. Whether or not there actually was any interest in him this time around, though, those links are set to come to an end within the next 24 hours.
Widespread reports in Italy and Germany now claim a deal to send the 23-year-old to Inter from Bayern has been agreed between the clubs and the player has settled on personal terms with the struggling Serie A side. The player is now expected in Italy by tomorrow to undergo a medical and complete the move, and barring a late shock, that will mean an end to any Shaqiri to Liverpool rumours. At least for a window or two.
Shaqiri, who at the time was linked to numerous European clubs including Liverpool, joined Bayern Munich in 2012 as one of the brightest prospects in European football. Though he has gone on to win two Bundesliga titles and a Champions League trophy since then, his development has largely stagnated and the player has found himself stuck behind Arjen Robben and Rranck Ribery on Bayern’s depth chart.
So far this season, he has only played in nine league games for the German giants, starting three times and coming off the bench on six other occasions. He has been an unused substitute seven times in league play. It’s a situation the player likely needed to get out of as soon as possible in order to salvage his once promising career, and Inter should offer him plenty of the playing time he so desperately needs.
Liverpool likely could have offered him playing time, too, though he might well not have ended up first choice at Anfield. A Xherdan Shaqiri who fulfils his potential would have been, but the Xherdan Shaqiri who’s been out of favour and stagnating at Bayern since Pep Guardiola arrived would have been behind Rhaeem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho, and Adam Lallana in the pecking order when all were fit.
Shaqiri at the rumoured £12M fee Inter are believed to be paying to acquire him on a permanent deal is a bargain, at least if he fulfils his potential. At one of Liverpool’s strongest positions, though, he doesn’t upgrade the options already available to Brendan Rodgers, and so if Liverpool’s budget is as limited as many believe that it is, it’s hard to get too upset about missing out Shaqiri, bargain or not.
Liverpool’s needs are at striker and in goal. If the club end the month without having strengthened at either position, that will be reason to be upset, and even the availability of a bargain priced Xherdan Shaqiri shouldn’t distract the fans—or the club—from that. Landing Shaqiri would have been a pleasant surprise, but genuine target or not, it never would have been a priority.