Liverpool have agreed a £9.5m deal with Ligue 1 side Lyon to sell winger Xherdan Shaqiri, potentially putting an end to any potential Championship return for teenager Harvey Elliott.
The 18-year-old scored seven goals and recorded 11 assists in a ruthless Blackburn Rovers attack last term, arguably helping the Lancashire side to stay afloat in the second tier despite their poor run of form in the second half of the 2021/22 campaign.
He lined up alongside the very capable Adam Armstrong and Ben Brereton Diaz during the last campaign – but is now likely to be surrounded by some of the best players in world football in the next 12 months with Shaqiri’s move all but complete and Reds manager Jurgen Klopp calling the teenager his ‘new midfielder’ just a couple of weeks ago.
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Although the likes of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are likely to keep the England youth international out of the starting lineup, the imminent loss of the Swiss international has pretty much guaranteed he will be staying on Merseyside and competing for game time this term, something he wasn’t able to get in the Premier League in the last.
Sheffield United and former loan club Blackburn Rovers were both said to be interested in a temporary move for the 18-year-old, along with Brentford who would have been able to give Elliott his first regular taste of top-flight football.
But with eight days left to go until the transfer window closes and Blackburn already bringing in fellow Liverpool winger Leighton Clarkson on a season-long loan, it’s the Blades who will be looking for alternative targets to pursue.
Slavisa Jokanovic’s side are in desperate need of some width to give them a different option going forward, so this latest news will be a particular blow to them as they scramble to bring in more reinforcements before the transfer deadline in just over a week.
For Elliott, the prospect of moving to Bramall Lane and attempting to change the Blades’ fortunes could be tempting. But after recording an impressive total of 18 Championship goal contributions last season on the wing, you wouldn’t blame the teenager for feeling he’s ready for Premier League football now.
If Sheffield United were doing a lot better than they currently are, this wouldn’t be such a blow considering the quality of the players they still have at their disposal, even with Aaron Ramsdale’s departure to Arsenal last week.
But you also have to consider Jurgen Klopp was calling Elliott his ‘new midfielder’ earlier this month and even without Shaqiri’s pending sale, it looked as though Elliott would be staying at Liverpool and with this, they have probably moved on to alternative targets.
All this recent transfer development has done is crush the last glimmer of hope any interested sides previously had in luring him away from Anfield for another season.