Liverpool have lost ground in the race to sign Bayern Munich starlet Xherdan Shaqiri after the Swiss international's representatives opened talks with Juventus over a £15m summer switch, according to the Daily Star.
Shaqiri is a top transfer target for Reds boss Brendan Rodgers after his pursuit of Southampton playmaker Adam Lallana was met with stubborn resistance, with Liverpool turning their attention to a 22-year-old they believe is available for a much more reasonable fee.
Bayern's frustrated star wants regular first-team football after regularly losing out to world-class wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in the race for a starting spot over the last 18 months, but unfortunately for Liverpool there are no shortage of top European clubs willing to make that ambition a reality.
Manchester United have previously monitored with the speed demon closely but Juve have pulled clear of both Premier League clubs in the race for Shaqiri's signature, opening talks with his agent and receiving a clear indication that the star would be willing to switch to Serie A.
Juve are similar to Liverpool in that they are desperate to sign quality recruits in search of the strength in depth required to be competitive in next season's Champions League, and both clubs have the financial resources to match their ambitions.
The Old Lady have one advantage over Liverpool in terms of persuading Shaqiri they should with the race to secure his services though, trophies. Antonio Conte's side have now on three successive Serie A crowns and have a whole host of experienced players who boast a bulging collection of winners' medals.
Rodgers will hope to sell Shaqiri the idea that can be a key part of a project Anfield in direct competition to Juve's enquiry, with the focus on free-flowing attacking football that allows creative players to express themselves.
Bayern have not given up on keeping one of their promising young players completely, although it looks increasingly unlikely that Shaqiri will wait for Guardiola to oust either trusted duo Robben or Ribery from his starting line-up to make room.
Liverpool now rank Shaqiri above Lallana as a cost-effective, priority transfer target to join Rickie Lambert and Emre Can at Anfield next term, but even if they meet Bayern's £15m price this looks like a transfer saga that will run long after the World Cup concludes in mid-July.