Xherdan Shaqiri and his imminent Liverpool future still remain one of the great uncertainties of this summer’s transfer window.
Whether the club should keep or sell continues to change on a daily basis with several reports indicating Liverpool are in the market for an attacking replacement.
Shaqiri – who earns £80,000-a-week according to Spotrac – has been a peripheral figure for Liverpool over the past 12 months with a number of injuries hindering the momentum gained from an impressive 2018/19 season.
He was limited to just two Premier League starts last season and appeared just five more from the bench. In the Champions League, he was only able to clock up three minutes of competitive action.
There were still moments of encouragement with one of Shaqiri’s two starts taking place against Everton where the Swiss international was on the scoresheet during a 5-2 riot against the noisy neighbours across Stanley Park.
However, there still could be life for Shaqiri regarding his imminent Liverpool future after it was revealed that there were complications in the club’s reported pursuit of Watford forward Ismaila Sarr.
According to the Evening Standard, Watford have placed a pricey £40 million fee on the talented Senegalese ace.
This bodes well for Shaqiri’s future in the short-term as Liverpool cannot afford to sell the 28-year-old if no further attacking deputies are brought in.
The emergence of Harvey Elliott could complicate matters for Shaqiri although it is ambiguous as to how much the teenager will be utilised next season with the 17-year-old wonderkid still in the early stages of his development.
It seemed pretty self-explanatory how Shaqiri’s future was to pan out this summer back in March when The Liverpool Echo claimed the Reds had put a £28m asking-price on the player.
That would have been a chunk of money too good to refuse for a player who is approaching the twilight of his career.
However, the ongoing global pandemic has changed the situation drastically and suddenly Shaqiri’s importance to the team hinges on whether the Reds bring in adequate replacements.
The economic uncertainty in the current financial climate means Liverpool can only afford to depart with such senior stars if a like-for-like replacement is set to join.
Sarr represents arguably Liverpool’s most viable option in terms of an attacking purchase this summer yet it remains to be seen whether the Reds will enter into a bargaining stand-off on price with another relegated club following the failure to reach an agreement for Norwich City defender Jamal Lewis.
What is certain in the current window is that due to recent circumstances, Shaqiri’s current value is nowhere near Liverpool’s previous evaluation.
This presents a problem in terms of financial responsibility. Liverpool could indeed still look to sell Shaqiri in an attempt to raise funds for Sarr yet if the Reds cannot strike a considerable value then effectively he could leave on next to nothing.
Shaqiri, similarly to Sarr’s current situation, was signed from a relegated club yet the former’s fee is set to be substantially less considering Shaqiri was signed for just £13 million [BBC].
Liverpool’s ability to transform relegated stars into serial winners is all-but unprecedented in the English top-flight and Jurgen Klopp potentially targeting Sarr suggests the club have an innate ability to see what others are glaringly missing.
However, plausibility and cost take precedence over everything at Liverpool so if the club cannot negotiate an appropriate fee for Sarr it could rule out a move altogether.
And so, Liverpool where they see the best value for the club. They could hold onto Shaqiri and decide that another season with the former Bayern Munich star around is more valuable than breaking the bank for another attacking deputy.
In truth, there is no easy solution, as reports continue to change on a daily basis. It may simply come down to Shaqiri himself and where he deems best to take his footballing talents next season.
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