It was only a matter of time before it was confirmed, news filtering through that Liverpool officially have Swiss superstar Xerdhan Shaqiri.

Shaqiri, who has been away on World Cup duty with Switzerland in Russia, was never likely to feature in relegated Stoke’s 2018/19 Sky Bet Championship campaign and that proved to be true after Liverpool triggered his £13.5 million release clause.

Shaqiri was Stoke’s record signing when he joined the Potters from Inter Milan for £12 million in mid-August 2015. In 92 games for Stoke, Shaqiri has 15 goals and 15 assists – eight goals and seven assists coming last season as Stoke suffered relegation.

Leaving Stoke after two seasons, the Swiss star can’t wait to get started back in the Premier League with Liverpool. Speaking to the Reds’ website, Shaqiri said: “I’m very happy to be here. It’s a huge club with big history, big players and a fantastic coach. So I’m really glad and happy to be here.”

He went on to add that it was a moved he’d finally managed to finalise: “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. 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.”

Stoke will therefore start their season missing their Swiss talisman, although they have recruited highly thought of central midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo from Portuguese side Feirense for £6.5 million.

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Cynicism turned to optimism but without the woop woops and ringing bells. Leeds United supporter through thick and thin, more thin than anything recently. Write mainly about the Whites but turn my hand to other clubs. Lover of salted crisp sandwiches. Not a hipster.

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