According to Turkish media outlet Fanatik via Sport Witness (h/t Liverpool Echo), Liverpool star Xherdan Shaqiri has emerged as a transfer target for Turkish heavyweights Galatasaray ahead of the January window.
As per the report, Galatasaray are planning to send their officials down to Merseyside next week to open talks with the reigning European champions over a potential deal for Shaqiri, who is keen to complete a move elsewhere in search of regular minutes.
The report adds that the Turkish giants are looking to prise the 28-year-old Swiss playmaker away from Anfield on an initial loan deal in January, with a view to a permanent switch in the summer of 2020.
Shaqiri, who joined Liverpool for a fee of just £13million from Stoke City in the summer of 2018 following the Potters’ relegation to the Championship, proved himself to be a massive bargain for Jurgen Klopp’s side that eventually won the Champions League and finished runners-up to Man City in the Premier League last season.
Despite only featuring in a bit-part role in the playing eleven due to the dominance of Liverpool’s devastating forward trio of Sadio mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino, Shaqiri clocked up some impressive performances for the Reds over the course of the previous campaign.
The 28-year-old contributed with 6 goals and 5 assists in 30 appearances for the Reds in all competitions last season, with the majority of his involvement coming as cameos off the bench, and things haven’t really been a lot different for him this term.
Shaqiri were restricted to only a couple of cameos in Premier League victories over Newcastle United and Burnley before Klopp finally opted to rotate his squad and hand him a start in Wednesday’s Merseyside derby against Everton.
With Firmino and Salah absent from the playing eleven in the high-octane mid-week fixture, the 80-cap Swiss international grabbed his opportunity with both hands and capped off a superb all-round display with a goal to guide Liverpool to a rather comfortable 5-2 victory over the Toffees.
To put things into perspective, Xherdan Shaqiri has cut a rather peripheral figure at Anfield since his move from Stoke City in 2018 but Liverpool would be wise enough to hold on to him if the latest transfer development is anything to go by.
The 28-year-old, who still has three-and-a-half years left to run on the five-year deal that he signed at Anfield in the summer of 2018, continues to be a key squad player under Jurgen Klopp.
The Swiss international has come good for the Reds whenever he has been called into action by the manager, with memories of his heroics in the 4-0 rout of Barcelona at Anfield in the semi-final of the Champions League last season still fresh in the minds of the fans.
Shaqiri’s latest heroics in the Merseyside derby was yet another reminder of his ability to deliver the goods in high-octane fixtures.
Along with back-up striker Divock Origi, Shaqiri continues to be a go-to man for Klopp as far as the bench is concerned, and while he hasn’t had a lot of opportunities so far this season, the 28-year-old could well enjoy more involvement heading into the busy festive period for the Reds.
Besides Mane, Firmino and Salah, Liverpool do not have much depth in their attacking ranks and Shaqiri is someone who provides valuable cover for Klopp in multiple areas of the pitch with his versatility to play anywhere across the forward line, ranging from a No.10 role to a wide attacking role.
To that end, offloading Shaqiri during the mid-season trading period in January could deplete Liverpool of some significant squad depth, which might deal a huge blow to their Premier League title ambitions and their chances of retaining the Champions League crown.
Sanctioning the departure of Shaqiri would necessitate further attacking reinforcements midway through the campaign and anyone who comes through the door would need time to settle down and acclimatise to the style of play under Klopp.
The 28-year-old has already been at the club for more than 18 months now and he is more than familiar with the way Liverpool go about things, meaning that keeping hold of him would be in their best interests.
Having said that, Liverpool keeping hold of Xherdan Shaqiri looks like an absolute no-brainer for a number of reasons as the Reds look to continue their dominance on all fronts.
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