“Suisse vs Argentine – Xherdan Shaqiri & Pablo Zabaleta” by Ludovic Péron – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Stoke City enjoyed an impressive 14/15 season where they finished 9th in the Premier League on 54 points and stunned Premier League fans when they defeated giants Manchester City and completely destroyed Liverpool on the last day of the season. The Potters are now looking to take the progression from last season and improve even further next season by showing real intent in the current transfer window. This has led to them surprising everyone by making a move for Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri and if reports are to be believed they have even agreed a £12m fee for the winger.
Sky Italia were one of the first media outlets to report that Stoke City had agreed a £12m fee with Inter Milan for Xherdan Shaqiri and since then it has been reported by others such as Sky Sports, The Guardian, ESPN, The Daily Mail and other media giants. The report was seen to be questionable at first as the Swiss international only signed for Italian giants Inter Milan in January where he made 15 league appearances and scored once since his arrival.
Shaqiri began his professional football career at Swiss side Basel where he was named player of the tournament in the U-15 Nike Cup in 2007. The winger then signed his first professional contract with Basel in January 2009 before making his first team debut in July 2009. Shaqiri was an instant hit with Basel and enjoyed winning the domestic double in the 09/10 season and won the Swiss title again in the 10/11 season. The winger made his senior international debut in March 2010 and was a surprise inclusion in Switzerland’s squad for the World Cup in 2010.
The Swiss international continued to have plenty of success with Basel domestically as they won the league title and the Swiss cup in the 11/12 season. Shaqiri managed to make 92 appearances and score 18 goals in his Basel career but unfortunately for Basel, Shaqiri’s progress led to top clubs becoming interested and he ended up moving on to Bayern Munich for €11.6m. In his first season at Bayern, Shaqiri made 39 appearances and scored 8 times in all competitions while he seemed to be more impressive in European games than in the Bundesliga. The Swiss winger enjoyed winning trophies in his first season at Bayern as they lifted the league title, the Champions League and the DFB-Pokal trophy.
Shaqiri only featured 26 times in all competitions in the 13/14 season but still managed to score 7 goals for Bayern but it was clear that he wasn’t going to be a regular starter at the club. Bayern won the Bundesliga title again but their was plenty of speculation about Shaqiri’s future after he returned from the 2014 World Cup with Switzerland. The winger stayed on with Bayern even after the summer transfer window in 2014 but only made 15 appearances and scored 2 goals in all competitions in the first half of the 14/15 season. This led to more transfer speculation in the January transfer window in 2015.
Shaqiri was heavily linked with a move to Liverpool and it was reported numerous times that the English club were interested in bringing him to Anfield but a private phone conversation with Roberto Mancini led to him signing for Inter Milan on the 9th of January. Shaqiri didn’t exactly light up the Serie A with his 15 appearances and 1 goal but will a move to Stoke City really be a way to revive his career? Well, it worked for former Barcelona attacker Bojan Krkic who moved to The Potters last season and made himself a favourite among the Stoke fans before suffering a season ending injury.
Football fans will have to wait and see if this possible transfer will turn out to be the shock transfer of the summer as the player still has to agree personal terms and decide if he wants to move to the Britannia stadium but if it does happen then Stoke City deserve plaudits for showing real ambition in the transfer market this summer.