One of the summer’s great transfer sagas revolved around Xherdan Shaqiri. The burly Swiss winger – his squat frame is somewhat unusual for a player in his position – was seemingly on the verge of joining Liverpool on numerous occasions after the World Cup, and even spoke to Manchester United before eventually opting to stay with Bayern Munich.
However a lack of game time is edging him towards a move away from the Allianz Arena once again, with the Red Devils leading the way for an £18m swoop, according to reports.
So should Louis van Gaal see off Liverpool and Spurs – whom are also keen – to nab Shaqiri? We think so, and here’s why…
With LVG seemingly yet to settle on his desired formation, having payers able to occupy multiple roles is of benefit for the Dutchman. So far a 3-4-1-2, 4-4-2 diamond and a standard 4-3-3 have all been used at Old Trafford, with varying levels of success. Shaqiri is comfortable on either flank or in the ‘No. 10’ role, meaning that he could be of particular use to Van Gaal in the latter two of the set-ups. Although he’s very rarely played as a wing-back through his career, the Swiss ace’s stocky frame may also be suited to a more defensively responsible role, too.
Shaqiri may not be a great scorer of goals, but he seems to be a scorer of great goals on the big stage. His playing time at Bayern has been somewhat rationed, which skews the figures a little, but a return of three in four outings at the World Cup was impressive.
A couple of vines show what he’s capable of below…
At 23, Shaqiri is no longer a ‘wonderkid’ but it’s fair to say that his best years are firmly ahead of him. All being well, the robust wide-man should have another ten years at the top level, and a deal now for United would ensure that the majority of them can be enjoyed at Old Trafford. At Basel he was a promising talent, but a lack of minutes at Bayern has caused his stock to drop.
No matter how you feel about international football, the World Cup is still the pinnacle of the beautiful game. The biggest tournament provides more of a challenge than Champions League or domestic action, with the best players on the planet all assembled for a quick fire competition in which results are needed from the word go.
The above goal was one of three Shaqiri netted in Brazil as Switzerland made it to the knockout stage.
Simply put, if Man United don’t get Shaqiri there’s a good chance that either Liverpool or Spurs will. Interest from Juventus is strong, but the lure of the big money on offer in the Premier League could be decisive. Both clubs are top four rivals for the Red Devils, regardless of what the Premier League table says right now, so them strengthening could come as a blow to LVG.