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Xherdan Shaqiri close to Liverpool exit after agreeing top-earner contract

Xherdan Shaqiri is set to complete a move away from Liverpool three years after joining, with the playmaker agreeing a contract with Ligue 1 side Lyon.

The 29-year-old has been a useful squad player since arriving from Stoke in 2018, but has increasingly struggled for regular starts despite his ongoing contribution.

In 63 appearances for the club, Shaqiri has scored eight goals and laid on nine assists, and while that could be seen as a disappointing record, only 25 of his outings have come as a starter.

He maintains a strong reputation on Merseyside and within the Liverpool squad, but the Swiss has decided to move on with a year left on his contract.

Despite expressing his desire to join Lazio in Serie A, saying he would be “honoured” to play for Maurizio Sarri, Shaqiri is now due to join Lyon in the French top flight instead.

According to L’Equipe, the No. 23 has agreed a three-year contract with the club, which will make him their highest earner following Memphis Depay’s move to Barcelona.

The deal is worth around £75,000 a week, and would take him beyond his 32nd birthday, however it is stressed that a fee is still to be finalised with Liverpool.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 7, 2021: Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri looks dejected after missing a chance during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Monday saw the club reject a first offer from Lyon worth just over £5 million, according to Sky Sports, with sources describing the bid as “a long way short.”

Sky Sports maintain that Liverpool are seeking a fee of around £12.7 million for the midfielder, but Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio – reporting for Sky Italia – claims their asking price is actually £6.8 million.

That may be a more realistic fee despite the Reds holding an option to extend Shaqiri’s contract by a further year to 2023, particularly in a fragile market post-pandemic.

Selling Shaqiri would free up funds for more signings, but according to the Mail‘s Dominic King, Liverpool will not be looking to replace him directly.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 8, 2021: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Athletic Club de Bilbao at Anfield. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Instead, King claims that faith in Harvey Elliott is a “major reason” why another Shaqiri type will not be brought in, with the 18-year-old to be given his minutes – and likely then some – in the campaign ahead.

Perhaps more interestingly, Shaqiri’s exit would free up space in the squad for another non-homegrown player, with further slots to be opened if the likes of Divock Origi and Loris Karius find new clubs.

“You have to make changes from time to time, but then there must be room to do it,” Klopp recently told TV2.

“We do not want more players. If something happens somewhere, something can happen somewhere else, but it makes no sense to add more players.”

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