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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 October 2018

Liverpool in talks with Stoke over deal for Switzerland winger Shaqiri - reports

Championship side hoping to take a Liverpool youngster on loan when Shaqiri moves in the opposite direction 

Xherdan Shaqiri is expected to leave Stoke City this summer, with Liverpool the likely destination. Alex Livesey / Getty Images
Xherdan Shaqiri is expected to leave Stoke City this summer, with Liverpool the likely destination. Alex Livesey / Getty Images

Liverpool are in discussions with Stoke about a deal for winger Xherdan Shaqiri, according to media reports.

The Switzerland international, currently on holiday after appearing at the World Cup, has a release clause in the region of £13.5 million (Dh65.7m) and Stoke are resigned to losing one of their prized assets after relegation from the Premier League.

Shaqiri is seen as a player who will strengthen Jurgen Klopp's squad by providing quality back-up to an established front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Fimino and Sadio Mane and Press Association understands Liverpool have opened talks with Stoke with a view to taking him to Anfield.

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Speaking about his future earlier this month Shaqiri expressed his desire to remain in the Premier League, saying: "Of course, I would like to play on the biggest stage in football. Everybody knows that."

It is believed Stoke are interested in taking one of Liverpool's youngsters, such as Harry Wilson or Sheyi Ojo, on loan and they hope doing a deal for Shaqiri may help get that over the line.

Ojo, who spent last year helping Fulham win promotion to the Premier League scoring four goals in 22 appearances despite being sidelined for a time by a dislocated shoulder, has impressed already in pre-season.

The 21-year-old scored in Tuesday's 3-2 win over Tranmere Rovers and is keen to make an impression on Klopp.

"From as soon as I finished my loan spell at Fulham - obviously, it was a good loan spell - I was just focused on coming back and trying to be as sharp as I can so I can impress the manager," he told the Liverpool website.

"I'm feeling really fit and really positive and the games are going well so far, so I'm excited for what's to come.

"Personally, I haven't spoke to the manager yet but it's been positive feedback in training so far and I'm just really looking forward to the rest of the pre-season. Hopefully I can keep impressing."

Klopp has a track record for giving young players an opportunity and admits he would be foolish not to give them a chance to break into his squad.

"They have all the quality, you can see that," he said after the friendly at Prenton Park. "The boys, we need them. We play the games, we have the training sessions, and then let's see how it fits at the end.

"But it's all about the boys, my door is wide open so why should I make a decision today?

"I watch the games, I lead the sessions and then I make a decision at a specific point, but that's not today and it's not next week so we have still time.

"I would be really crazy if I would not give these boys a chance - they are fantastic players, they've played fantastic games, so we will see what happens."