Stoke Face Fight To Hang Onto Shaqiri

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Stoke City are fending off the unwanted interest of AS Roma in their Swiss dynamo, Xherdan Shaqiri, reports the Stoke Sentinel.

The Serie A giants need to replace the Liverpool-bound Mo Salah. The Egyptian winger was a pivotal player last season, leading the stats in the Italian capital with assists (11) but also the club’s second top scorer with 15 in the league.

While the Giallorossi will receive around £40m for the former Chelsea player, they must not only compensate for his departure but also the retirement of their legendary striker, Francesco Totti.

Shaqiri is capable of being that player, comfortable drifting in from the flanks to central roles. However, with former Manchester City striker, Edin Dzeko to aim at, the Albanian-born midfielder’s accuracy will be much appreciated.

Signed two years ago, Shaqiri is a popular player with supporters and seen as an integral piece of the squad Mark Hughes has assembled. The former Bayern Munich player can be devastating on his day and would leave a big hole in the Stoke midfield.

However, it’s thought unlikely that he would turn down the offer of Champions League football which Roma can offer and Stoke have little chance of achieving. It’s also unlikely that the Potters can afford to resist the Roman overtures.