After breaking onto the scene in rip-roaring form for FC Basel in 2009, Xherdan Shaqiri has since won the world over through his excellent ability to mix brute strength with raw flair.
Despite a promising start to the 23-year-old’s career, since joining Bavarian giants Bayern Munich for a cool £11million in 2012, the Swiss star has seen his game time largely restricted to warming the Bayern bench. The likes of Mario Goetze, Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery seem to have first priority on any first team place given by Pep Guardiola, and as a result Shaqiri has had very little opportunity to thrive in the German top flight.
Despite falling down the pecking order at Bayern Munich, the Kosovo-born midfielder is never short of potential suitors who would love to acquire his services. Clubs from all over Europe would jump at the chance to sign Xherdan Shaqiri, so for that reason, just where will Bayern’s forgotten man end up this January?
The ‘Magic Dwarf’ or the ‘Alpine Messi’, as he has been lovingly nicknamed in Germany, has everything required to become a world class player. Now at the age of 23, Shaqiri is approaching the prime of his career and his days of being a mere youth player are well and truly over.
The Bayern No. 11 has only made nine appearances for his side this season, scoring just two goals in the process. Someone of his level therefore deserves more opportunities to express himself and show what he really is about.
For that reason Liverpool could be his perfect calling. With a lack of real threat up-front, Shaqiri has all the hallmarks of a top goal-scorer who could certainly help fill the void left by Luis Suarez at Anfield. His hat-trick in this summer’s 2014 World Cup against Honduras clearly displays that Shaqiri has what it takes, and for that reason alone, Brendan Rodgers will likely be jumping at any chance to sign the creative 23-year-old.
Arsenal are another Premier League club to be linked with Shaqiri however. This move, while it would certainly make sense with the brand of football that is played at the Emirates, could potentially see the Swiss star leap out of the frying pan and into the fire if it were to happen. It’s not that he wouldn’t be good enough for Arsenal, just the fact that Arsene Wenger already has the likes of Theo Wallcott, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil at his disposal when everyone returns from injury, leaving not much room for Xherdan Shaqiri.
Perhaps then Manchester City, with their frequent squad rotation policies, would be a better option for this pocket rocket. Transfer fee and wages wouldn’t be a problem for the English champions, and in Sergio Aguero’s current injury absence, Shaqiri would slot in nicely to Manuel Pellegrini’s expansive set-up.
While a move to the Premier League would certainly suit Shaqiri, the likes of PSG, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan have all expressed an interest in bringing the ‘Magic Dwarf’ to their respective teams in the last few season.
There is one option on the table that would simply be remarkable if it were to happen however. After losing both Mario Goetze and Robert Lewandowski to rivals Bayern in recent seasons, Dortmund could pull off a huge transfer shock by signing Shaqiri and getting one over on their Bundelsiga nemeses. Klopp’s attack-minded philosophy would certainly work well with the Swiss international, but whether or not Bayern would actually sell to their rivals is another matter all together.
Wherever the young talent eventually ends up, expect Xherdan Shaqiri to be on the move sooner rather than later – just cross your fingers it’s your club.