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Monday 15 October 2018

Shaqiri next on Red list as Lyon call off Fekir deal

Stoke ace coy an Anfield move as Liverpool move on from Nabil

Xherdan Shaqiri. Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Xherdan Shaqiri. Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Liverpool are set to ramp up their efforts to sign Xherdan Shaqiri from Stoke after Lyon dramatically called off negotiations for the sale of forward Nabil Fekir last weekend.

France international Fekir expected to join Jurgen Klopp's side before Les Bleus left for the World Cup, but OL ended talks and called off the deal.

"Transfer negotiations with Liverpool and Nabil Fekir for the transfer of the captain of OL have not succeeded and Olympique Lyonnais have decided to put an end to this negotiation," OL said in a statement on their official website.

The 24-year-old was being courted by Liverpool as a replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who joined Barcelona in January.

There were doubts as to whether the playmaker would pass a medical with the Premier League side due to a knee injury.

However, that is now irrelevant, with Lyon calling the deal off.

France Football Association president Noel Le Graet had suggested the move was almost completed - according to reports in France - before Lyon's announcement.

Attentions

The club's statement continued: "Although Liverpool have been the priority of a possible transfer for Nabil...Olympique Lyonnais is delighted to be able to count on the presence of our captain, who is a leading player for the 2018/19 season when the club will play in the Champions League."

Fekir quickly switched his attentions to his World Cup commitments, tweeting a photograph yesterday afternoon of his France squad mates on board their flight to Russia.

Fekir, who took the photo, tweeted to his 231,000 followers with the simple message "En route!!"

He came on for the final 20 minutes of France's final warm up match against USA on Saturday night and was quickly involved in France's equaliser scored by Kylian Mbappe.

Shaqiri, meanwhile, has remained coy over his future as Liverpool close in on the Swiss international.

The Stoke City forward, who has a relegation release clause in his contract which will be triggered by a bid of between £12million and £13.5m, will jump at the chance of a move to Anfield after a nightmare season with the Potters.

Klopp has shortlisted the 26-year-old as he looks to bolster his attacking options for next season and, with the Fekir deal off, it is Shaqiri who is most likely to be Liverpool's next signing, alongside Naby Keita and Fabinho.

Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton, Leicester City and Everton are also believed to be monitoring Shaqiri's situation.

Shaqiri is with the Switzerland squad preparing for the forthcoming World Cup and featured in Friday's 2-0 warm-up win over Japan.

Afterwards he was asked about what it is like playing at Anfield, to which he responded: "Anfield is great, definitely. Why are you talking about Liverpool?" When told of Liverpool's interest, Shaqiri broke into a smile and said: "I can't tell you anything right now. I think my agents take care of my future.

"I'm focusing on the national team right now."

A goalkeeper also remains a priority for Klopp with Simon Mignolet seeking a move from Anfield.

Roma's Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson remains the club's main target but the Italian club expect a fee of around £70m for their man.

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