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Jeremy Cross writes in the Daily Star...
United target the new Messi
Sir Alex Ferguson has joined arch-rivals Liverpool in the battle to sign Xherdan Shaqiri – the man dubbed the new Lionel Messi. Shaqiri starred for Basel as they dumped Manchester United out of the Champions League earlier this month. Now his reward could be a mega- money switch to Old Trafford as Fergie looks to bolster his midfield in next month’s transfer window. Starsport understands United have sounded out his agent Ulisse Savini about a possible £10m switch to the Premier League champions. Shaqiri, 20, has been likened to Messi following a string of impressive displays for Basel and Switzerland. The creative midfielder, who was born in Kosovo, has a similar build to the Barcelona star and is also left-footed. He impressed Fergie in both group games against United and is tipped to become one of the best players in Europe. Liverpool have been tracking Shaqiri since Roy Hodgson was boss and Anfield director of football Damien Comolli has watched him several times. Fergie is confident of landing him and can offer bigger wages, but Shaqiri is keen to help Basel progress in the Champions League knockout stages.
Today’s tabloids are bursting at the seams (or folds) with transfer speculation, including the Daily Mirror, which has touted the Reds with a summer move for Newcastle's midfielder Cheick Tiote. The boss is apparently keen on the former FC Twente man and is said to be considering a future bid.
Elsewhere, The Sun says Wayne Rooney has splashed out on two racehorses based on the advice of his striking team-mate Michael Owen. United’s number ten has acquired a couple of young thoroughbreds, which will be looked after by respected trainer Tom Dascombe.