Six months after departing Liverpool for Lyon, Xherdan Shaqiri has left Europe for a high-profile move to MLS with Chicago Fire, which could have a big financial impact.
For Liverpool, the deal seemed to make good business sense, too, with Lyon agreeing to pay up to £9.2 million for a player with one year left on the contract he signed when arriving from Stoke for £13.5 million.
But with Shaqiri now joining Chicago Fire in MLS, the Reds are likely to have missed out on a large chunk of that.
When the playmaker swapped Anfield for the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Liverpool agree an up-front fee of £5 million, with a further £4.2 million due in add-ons.
However, with Shaqiri only playing 16 times for Lyon, with two goals and three assists, it is highly unlikely he will have reached many – if any – of the performance-related targets structured into the deal.
He only clocked 995 minutes on the pitch for the Ligue 1 side, falling out of favour under Peter Bosz despite the financially troubled club having made him their highest earner on around £75,000 a week.
Liverpool will, of course, have known the risks when they shook hands on the package with Lyon, but they may now have missed out on a sizeable payday due to Shaqiri’s swift exit.
Shaqiri joins Chicago Fire as a Designated Player (DP) – with MLS franchises able to have up to three players on their roster with wages outside of their salary cap – and is considered their biggest signing since Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Other DPs across MLS include Blaise Matuidi, Gonzalo Higuain, Javier Hernandez, Victor Wanyama and Carlos Vela; Douglas Costa, the former Bayern Munich winger, is expected to join LA Galaxy this week, while Lorenzo Insigne has agreed to move to Toronto FC in July.
— Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) February 9, 2022
The Fire’s new No. 10 was unveiled in a social media video on Wednesday evening, with the franchise now awaiting a US visa before Shaqiri can join his new team-mates.
Their first game of the 2022 MLS season is on February 26, away to Inter Miami, though it is unclear at this stage whether their big-money DP signing can feature.