Xherdan Shaqiri looks set to depart Liverpool this summer, with Napoli and Lazio among the clubs keen to sign the Switzerland star.
The Serie A duo, Goal understands, have been in touch with the 29-year-old’s representatives following his impressive displays at Euro 2020, and both are keen to do a deal before the end of the summer transfer window.
However, they are likely to face competition from Spain, where Sevilla and Villarreal are among the clubs keen.
Why is Shaqiri leaving Liverpool?
Shaqiri joined Liverpool from Stoke in a £13million ($18m) deal in 2018, and has made 63 appearances for the Reds.
He was part of the squad which won the Champions League in 2019 and then followed that up with the Premier League title a year later, but has seen his progress at Anfield hampered by a series of injuries.
He managed just three starts in the 2019-20 season and only seven last term, and is eager to move on in search of regular football.
Liverpool had expected to sell last summer, but saw interest from Germany and Italy fail to develop into concrete offers. Anfield sources, however, anticipate that there is a deal to be done at the right price this time around. Shaqiri still has a guaranteed year left on his contract at Anfield, though the club has the option to extend that until 2023 should they wish.
Sevilla and Villarreal have enquired about potential loan deals, but been informed that Liverpool would be looking for a sale, while Napoli and Lazio have contacted Shaqiri’s representatives. The player, it is understood, would welcome a move to Italy.
Shaqiri is due to meet up with Liverpool's squad at their pre-season camp in Austria later this week.
What has Shaqiri said?
Shaqiri has given an interview to Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport this week, in which he announced his desire to leave Anfield this summer.
“The important thing at this moment in my career is to be able to play regularly, but that hasn’t always been the case in the last three seasons," he said. “This is why I told Liverpool that I feel ready for a new challenge. They accepted my wish and will seriously consider the offers that will come. They will not stop me.”
He added: "I’m only 29 years old, I have played in some of the best leagues in Europe and I would like to continue being a part of them. I’m not yet thinking about the end of my career, it’s a future I imagine far away. We will see what destiny has in store for me.
“I have no direct contact; my consultant team deals with the market. They inform me when there are clubs interested, you have to ask them for the names.”
Asked directly about the rumours of a move to Lazio, Shaqiri admitted new boss Maurizio Sarri’s style of play would suit him and praised the work of sporting director Igli Tare.
“Igli Tare has been doing an excellent job at Lazio for years,” he said. “If it’s true that he has great respect for me, then I’m honoured. I have been following Lazio for a long time, they are a top team. In general, due to my characteristics, I like to play more attacking football and Sarri practices it. It would be intriguing.”
What kind of fee would Liverpool want?
The Reds have already raised more than £30m ($41m) in sales this summer, offloading Marko Grujic, Harry Wilson, Taiwo Awoniyi, Kamil Grabara and Liam Millar, and they would be looking to recoup around £15m ($21m) for Shaqiri, given his pedigree.
Reds fans will hope that money is reinvested into the first-team, with a midfielder and a forward required if Jurgen Klopp is to freshen up his squad.
Liverpool are also keen to tie down a number of star players to new contracts, with goalkeeper Alisson Becker, defender Virgil van Dijk and midfielder Fabinho all in line for fresh deals.
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are also into the final two years of their contracts, as is captain Jordan Henderson, with who initial discussions have proven fruitless so far.
Liverpool are aware of the need to bring in younger players in order to ensure the team continues to evolve while remaining competitive, but as yet have only brought in one senior signing this summer, the 22-year-old central defender Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig.