Liverpool sign Switzerland forward Shaqiri on long-term deal
LONDON: Liverpool have boosted their attacking options with the signing of Switzerland forward Xherdan Shaqiri from Stoke City on a long-term contract, the Premier League club said on Friday.
The details of the deal were not disclosed but local media said Shaqiri had joined on a five-year contract after Liverpool paid his 13.5 million pounds ($17.86 million) release clause.
“It’s a huge club with big history, big players and a fantastic coach (Juergen Klopp). So I’m really glad and happy to be here," Shaqiri, 26, said on the Anfield club's website Liverpoolfc.com.
Shaqiri started all of Switzerland's games at this year's World Cup, where they lost to Sweden in the last 16, and has scored 21 goals in 74 games for his country, including a last-minute winner against Serbia in the group stage in Russia.
The talented Swiss playmaker is Liverpool's third signing in the transfer window so far after the arrival of AS Monaco midfielder Fabinho and Naby Keita from RB Leipzig.
“...he (Shaqiri) is someone who makes a big difference to the squad and team, because he can fit in so many positions in our system. He gives us greater flexibility in how we can use our current players also," said Klopp.
Shaqiri began his career with FC Basel and joined Bayern Munich in 2012, spending 2-1/2 years at the Bundesliga giants before a six-month spell with Inter Milan.
He won league titles in Switzerland and Germany plus the Champions League with Bayern in 2013.
“I know him well from his time in Switzerland and especially Germany – I have been a long-time admirer," added Klopp.
"But the added bonus now is that he knows the Premier League and what it takes to perform in this uniquely intense environment. He also did really well at the World Cup – so he comes to us full of belief and confidence."
Shaqiri joined Stoke in 2013 and scored 15 goals in 84 league games over three seasons at the Midlands outfit, who were relegated from the top flight last season.
“As a player you always want to be on the biggest stage in football. A few years ago I wanted to come too but it didn’t happen," added Shaqiri, who was linked with Liverpool in 2014 when Bayern reportedly blocked a move.
"I’m really happy that now I’m finally here. I want to improve myself too, I want to be with the best and I want to win titles. That’s what I’m here for.”