Liverpool midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri has expressed his ‘honour’ after being linked with Lazio, whom he believes are an ‘intriguing’ proposition, given the summer appointment of former Juventus and Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri.
Shaqiri, 29, has only a year remaining on his current contract, and while Liverpool have the option to trigger an extension which would keep the Swiss midfielder at Anfield for another 12 months, rumours are intensifying that he will leave this summer.
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His performances for Switzerland at Euro 2020, in which he scored three goals to fire his nation to the quarter-finals, have alerted a number of potential suitors across the continent, with the likes of Lazio, Napoli, Sevilla and Villarreal all thought to be monitoring the situation.
Signed from Stoke three years ago, the 96-capped Switzerland international has mainly be used as a rotational option under Jurgen Klopp, but has amassed an impressive trophy cabinet in that time, winning the Premier League and Champions League.
However, with playing time often scarce on Merseyside for Shaqiri, he may seek pastures new this summer, and with interest from Lazio gaining traction, the pint-sized playmaker has now gone on record to outline his ‘honour’ in seeing his name linked with the Roman club.
“Igli Tare [Lazio’s sporting director] has been doing an excellent job at Lazio for years,” he told Corriere dello Sport.
“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.”
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‘Sarri’s attacking football intrigues me’
Following the departure of Simone Inzaghi to Inter Milan, Lazio have appointed Sarri, who was out of work last season following his season-long stint at Juventus.
The former banker gained a burgeoning reputation in Serie A with Napoli, in which ‘Sarriball’ — or ‘Sarrismo’ — captivated fans of the sport and nearly ended the the club’s long wait for that ever-elusive Scudetto, last winning the title in 1990 when Diego Maradona was tearing up the division.
Shaqiri has now thrown his weight behind Sarri’s tactical blueprint, believing his own playing style would mesh well with the “attacking football” of Lazio’s new head coach.
He continued: “In general, due to my characteristics, I like to play more attacking football and Sarri practices it. It would be intriguing.”