Should Shaqiri sign on with Mark Hughes at Stoke City this summer?
Mark Hughes could be close to another transfer gem with Stoke City, as the Potters close in on the signing of Inter Milan attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, but would it be a wise career move for the talented Switzerland international?
Potters boss Hughes is continuing the revamping of his squad and the club’s philosophy, having snapped up Barcelona’s exciting La Masia graduate Bojan Krkic last summer, and the former Manchester City coach could soon have another surprising star in his ranks for next term (11/1 with Coral for top six finish).
It’s obvious Hughes’ playing career at the very highest level with the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United have earned him a prestigious reputation around top European clubs, opening doors for genuinely brilliant business in the transfer market.
Bojan was only the beginning it seems, with the potential arrival of such a talented and highly-rated star such as Shaqiri representing another new level of Stoke dealings.
However, as a £12m switch is possibly soon to be agreed, could Shaqiri see such an unexpected move as a stepping stone or a fast-track back among Europe’s elite?
The 23-year-old has netted 17 times in 46 international appearances for the Swiss including a strike against England, but has struggled since arriving in Serie A with Roberto Mancini’s Inter side, who stumbled to an eighth place finish after a truly torrid term.
Hughes may soon prove that persistence pays off, though, having tried to lure Shaqiri to the Britannia Stadium in January, before he opted to sign a four-year deal with the Nerazzurri in a move worth a reported £16m.
However, the former Bayern Munich prospect was handed only eight Italian league starts during the second half of the campaign, striking on just one occasion, underwhelming form which has shifted Inter’s belief in him as they prepare to cash in on his services.
With guaranteed regular action with the Potters and the chance to prove his credentials on the globally loved Premier League stage, Shaqiri could see this as an opportunity to revive his career swiftly before Euro 2016 kicks off next summer (50/1 to win).
The Swiss are likely to finish second to England in qualifying Group E, thanks in no small part to Stoke’s potential new acquisition, as he guides his nation to the finals in France with his four goals in the opening clashes.
Flashes of brilliance were evident at last summer’s World Cup in Brazil as well, with Shaqiri having also struck 11 times in 26 starts for Bundesliga champions Bayern previously, after his 2012 switch from Basel. Although he failed to fully establish himself in the Allianz Arena first-team, despite his impressive trophy collection which features two Bundesliga titles and a Champions League crown.
If the stuttering Serie A star was to arrive and enjoy a rejuvenated campaign in the top-flight, the league’s big boys would undoubtedly come calling after a proven season in England, something which Shaqiri may have in his thinking when possibly putting pen to paper on a Potters deal this summer.