Liverpool and Stoke miss out on Xherdan Shaqiri loan signing
Liverpool (13/2 chances with Coral for a top four Premier League finish) and Stoke City (7/4 to end up in the top half) have both missed out on reported target Xherdan Shaqiri, as the Bayern Munich and Switzerland star has opted to join Inter Milan on loan.
Shaqiri, who can play on either flank or in an advanced midfield role, was out of favour under Munich manager Pep Guardiola at the Allianz, with elder statesmen Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben holding down wide berths either side of Thomas Muller or Mario Gotze.
The imminent arrival of the Kosovo-born player, capped 41 times and netting 15 times for the Swiss, at the blue half of the San Siro will be Inter boss Roberto Mancini’s second loan signing this week following Lukas Podolski’s temporary capture from Arsenal.
Clearly, the Nerazzurri manager, back in Milan for a second spell after stints at Manchester City and Galatasaray, was unhappy with his attacking options, especially as young Argentine forward Muaro Icardi has scored the bulk of their goals this term.
While Potters manager Mark Hughes is well-respected on the continent following spells as a player with Bayern and Barcelona, it was always fanciful that a provincial club such as Stoke could pull off an audacious move for someone like Shaqiri.
It is more of a blow for Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, whose attacking options (Adam Lallana apart) have failed to cover the injury absence of star striker Daniel Sturridge at Anfield. The Premier League’s loss is Inter’s gain, though at one stage Shaqiri looked set to join Serie A champions Juventus.
As he has plumped for the Nerazzurri instead, Shaqiri will step down to play Europa League football, when continental competitions resume in February. That European trophy is one the betting suggests Mancini will be targeting, with Inter 12/1 joint third-favourites to lift it.