Why Liverpool And Manchester United Should Battle For Shaqiri

One of the architects of Manchester United's demise last night, Shaqiri has been on the radar of them and Liverpool for some time. This scouting report, written in the Euro u-21 Championships, proves why the should fight to the death...
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One of the architects of Manchester United's demise last night, Shaqiri has been on the radar of them and Liverpool for some time. This scouting report, written in the Euro u-21 Championships, proves why the should fight to the death...

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One of the architects of Manchester United's demise last night, Shaqiri has been on the radar of them and Liverpool for some time. This scouting report, written in the Euro u-21 Championships, proves why the should fight to the death...

Back in June,  in the 47th minute of the opening game of the European U-21 championships, Xherdan Shaqiri took five simple yet destructive touches before rifling a left-footed shot across the goalkeeper and into the opposite corner of the Denmark goal. Despite the quality shown in the run and finish and an overall performance that completely outshone the similarly feted Christian Eriksen, it was what he did before touching the ball that should get Liverpool fans excited if their long-term interest in the FC Basel playmaker bears fruit.

Receiving the ball from Admir Mehmedi, he applied the slightest of feints with his right shoulder to make his marker think he was going infield, before switching his balance, taking the ball on his revered left-foot and leaving the entire defence static before scoring what turned out to be the winning goal. Not quite the shot heard all around the world, yet it would've certainly reverberated around Anfield and, if rumours are to be believed, Old Trafford, with Manchester United also interested.

Shaqiri is, of course, more than an unknown whose value has rocketed on the back of one goal in an age group tournament. He has 11 caps for Switzerland and announced himself to the world with an absolute screamer against England in September 2010, cutting in from the right before hitting the ball with such extreme violence that Joe Hart appeared to dive after it hit the back of the net.

Player of the tournament at the 2007 Nike Under-15 Cup, Shaqiri's likely value looks to be between £8 - £12 million which, although cheap in comparison to English players, could be anywhere between £6 and £10 million more than Liverpool should've paid as he could've been snapped up for as little as £2 million in January when his contract expired. He is now contracted to 2014 and Basel will expect a decent fee for his transfer as they will require at least two players to replace the man who was been outstanding for the last two successful seasons.

He could prove to be the link between between midfield and attack that Liverpool have lacked consistently since Peter Beardsley was still gurning opposition defences to distraction.

Although I can't find the direct quotes, sources claimed as far back as September 2010 that Liverpool was his preferred destination and, although Alex Ferguson needs exactly this type of player to fill a pasty ginger gap in midfield, it is believed that Liverpool are still favourites to sign the Kosovan-born Number 10.

He fulfills the NESV brief of being young, talented and having resale value and, although having a bit of the Suarez about him physically and technically, he operates deeper than the Uruguyan, is a classic number 10 who demands the ball at his feet and will take it no matter how many players are marking him and could prove to be the link between between midfield and attack that Liverpool have lacked consistently since Peter Beardsley was still gurning opposition defences to distraction. He is also an incredibly driven character with a workrate almost equal to his precocious talent.

With the signing of Henderson completed and betting suspended this morning on Charlie Adam joining Liverpool, it might seem that Dalglish is trying to break Spurs record of a few years ago of continually signing midfielders. Yet for all the merits of Meireles, Gerrard, Henderson, Lucas and Adam, they are all players who run in straight lines and rely on power and pace, while Shaqriri is a player who is impossible to pin down; he moves laterally looking for possession, can go both inside and outside the full-back and, much like Georgi Kinkladze when he could be bothered, operates in tiny pockets of space in the central area and destroys teams with his movement and ball control.

As good a player the mercurial Georgian was, it is another Gheorge that Shaqiri has been compared to; the great Romanian Hagi. Hagi, of course, was the conductor of Romania’s orchestral football at USA 94 and nicknamed the Maradona of the Carparthians due to his squat physique, low centre of gravity and delightful left peg.

Even if his value rises with every performance in Denmark, it shouldn't be too long before Liverpool supporters are hailing Shaqiri as the Maradona of Merseyside.

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