Juventus to launch €19m Shaqiri bid

EXCLUSIVE: The winger could be set for a move to Turin as Massimiliano Allegri looks to reinforce his attacking options

By Romeo Agresti

Juventus are ready to launch a €19 million bid for for out of favour Bayern Munich winger Xherdan Shaqiri, Goal understands.

The Switzerland star, 23, has failed to usurp Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben as one of the first choice wide men at the Allianz Arena and is keen to play regular football elsewhere.

The Bianconeri have made no secret of their desire to bolster their attacking options, with director general Beppe Marotta revealing their interest in adding a forward to their ranks on Saturday.

And Shaqiri appears to be top of their hit-list, with an initial loan move on the cards, which would see Bayern paid €4 million in January, before a further €15m payment upon the completion of a permanent deal in June.

Inter have also pondered a move for the player, as did Roma, but the Giallorossi opted against making a bid as a result of their €22m summer investment in Juan Iturbe.

Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri sees the player as a potentially key cog in his side given his ability to function in both a 4-2-3-1 and 4-1-3-2 formation, which he has favoured since replacing Antonio Conte in July.

Shaqiri’s representatives were keen to negotiate the player’s exit in the summer but a move failed to materialise with several clubs baulking at his valuation and Bayern boss Pep Guardiola happy to keep him. 

However, his time in Germany now appears to be drawing to a close, with the former FC Basel star keen to make the move and a big admirer of Serie A.

His current deal with the Bundesliga champions expires in June 2016.

Ronaldo will win Ballon d'Or, but it should be Neuer – Reina

The Real Madrid star is the favourite to win the award but the Bayern Munich goalkeeper feels his team-mate and the Germany No.1 deserves it more

Pepe Reina has admitted he believes Cristiano Ronaldo will win the Ballon d’Or, but would rather see his Bayern Munich team-mate Manuel Neuer take home the trophy.

The Real Madrid star is the heavy favourite to win the award for the second time in a row, third overall, when the winner is announced in January, but it is expected to be a close call between the Champions League winner, Barcelona counterpart Lionel Messi and World Cup and Bundesliga champion Neuer.

“I think it will be Cristiano Ronaldo who takes it,” Neuer told Spanish radio station COPE. “But what I want and desire is for Neuer to win.

“It’s difficult for a goalkeeper, especially against Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, he can win on merit and with what he has done for the club, it would be nice if he would take it.”

The Spanish goalkeeper also talked about Madrid shot stopper Iker Casillas, praising the star’s mentality.

“Casillas has an excellent head. Performing at the level he has for so many years speaks for itself about Casillas’ mentally.

“He is prepared to take criticism and he has, I said he was ready for the flak and he has shown that.”

Guardiola has brought Barcelona style to Bayern – Sammer

The club’s sporting director has applauded the manner in which the Spaniard has integrated his passing philosophy into the club’s existing playing style

Matthias Sammer has praised Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola for integrating his passing philosophy without sacrificing the club’s identity.

The Spaniard lifted the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal in his debut season in charge last term but the former Barcelona boss was still criticised for stubbornly sticking to his footballing principles.

Guardiola’s famous ‘Tiki-Taka’ model brought great success to Camp Nou during his four years in Catalonia but many felt his style was too far removed from the one favoured by his Bayern predecessor Jupp Heynckes, who won the treble in 2013/14.

The shock 5-0 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League added further fuel to that argument, but with Bayern already 11 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga in December, the club’s sporting director Sammer has applauded the 43-year-old.

“He obviously tried to integrate the strengths of his players into his football,” he told the club’s official website.

“He also needed time to realise what would work and what wouldn’t. His inter-connect and integration of style has been a wonderful success, though. This is his great achievement.”

Sammer added his admiration for Guardiola as a person and said his values were a perfect fit for the club’s values.

He added: “It’s been a pleasure to work with him, he fits wonderfully as a man with Bayern. Personally I can say that we have absolute trust. We have a very, very close relationship.”

Germany’s World Cup success led to fears several players would fail to maintain the same levels of motivation after claiming the game’s biggest prize, but Sammer again said the experience of Guardiola has been key to avoiding that potential pitfall.

“The conditions were really difficult. We had very little recovery time after the World Cup with injuries, but we’ve done really well in the first half of the season. 

“It was very important that we had a coach who had already experienced this situation in 2010 when Spain won the World Cup.”

Neuer: I'm not a global brand like Ballon d'Or rivals Ronaldo & Messi

The goalkeeper won the World Cup and the double in Germany but he does not feel that he can compete with the superstar duo because of their worldwide fame

Manuel Neuer says he is at a disadvantage in the race for this year’s Ballon d’Or as he is not a “global brand” like fellow nominees Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The Gelsenkirchen native is widely credited with revolutionising the role of the goalkeeper because of his footballing skills and the way in which he serves as a makeshift sweeper, while he is also coming off the back of a year in which he won the World Cup with Germany and the double with Bayern Munich.

However, Neuer does not feel he has much chance of getting the better of Ronaldo or Messi, given the pair’s superstar status.

“I’m proud just to be one of the candidates for the Ballon d’Or,” the 28-year-old told Suddeutsche Zeitung. “The other two players are global brands in their own right and maybe for that reason have an advantage.”

Neuer, though, believes Bayern are more than capable of making up for their Champions League final loss to Chelsea at their own Allianz Arena in 2012 by lifting the European Cup in Berlin in May.

“We missed our chance to win the trophy in our own city,” he added. “So, now we would like to make up for that and win the Champions League in our country.”

Looking further ahead, Neuer hopes to play a key role in Germany’s bid for glory at Euro 2016.

However, he moved to play down rumours that he will hang up his gloves after the tournament in France.

“I haven’t made a decision on that,” he added. “While I am still the team’s No.1 will continue defending the Germany net.”

Guardiola keeps Bayern sharp, says Muller

The Germany star is delighted with how much freedom his club coach gives him in attack and has hailed his desire to innovate their gameplan so often

Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller believes that Pep Guardiola has kept every one of his players on his toes since his arrival at the Allianz Arena.

The Spaniard delivered the double in his first season in the Bundesliga, but received criticism after the Bavarians exited the Champions League at the group stage.

However, the Germany star is happy with the effect for the former Barcelona boss has had on his career, particularly in terms of the freedom they enjoy up front.

“The coach definitely sharpens the players’ senses,” he told Bild.

“He always has notes in hand. He’s a counsellor to make it even easier for individual players in matches.

“He gives us a lot of freedom in attack. He once said to us that he scored a few goals in his career, which is why he shows us the opponents’ weaknesses and lets us do what we want in the final third.

“That’s how it works.”

Bayern entered the Bundesliga’s winter break 11 points clear of second-place Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.