According to reports in the Daily Star, new Southampton manager Mark Hughes is lining up a £20m summer move for Stoke City attacker Xherdan Shaqiri should he keep the club in the Premier League and stay on at St Mary’s.
Well, the Daily Star says that Hughes, who has also been linked with a move for Joe Allen, would love to make the Switzerland international his first big summer signing for the south coast outfit and is willing to make a club-record offer of £20m – more than the £19.2m they paid for Guido Carrillo in January – although it of course relies on the 54-year-old helping Saints in their survival bid first of all.
The Daily Star reports Shaqiri will want out of the Britannia Stadium if the Potters are relegated and also says he won’t be short of offers, both in England and abroad.
The report adds that the 26-year-old is a huge Stoke fans’ favourite, and Hughes would like to be reunited with him again having bought him for £12m three years ago when he was in charge of City.
While Stoke have been struggling down the wrong end of the table for much of the campaign, the Swiss playmaker has been one of their most consistent performers and something of a talisman.
The 26-year-old has scored six goals and provided a further seven assists in 29 Premier League appearances this term, while according to WhoScored.com he has made an impressive 65 key passes.
If they stay up, he certainly would be.
While there may be some question marks over his attitude sometimes, there is no doubt about the quality that he has in his locker considering he has played for Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and FC Basel previously, as well as scoring a hat-trick at the 2014 World Cup for Switzerland.
The 26-year-old is unpredictable and that is something the Saints need to add to their attacking options this summer given that the lack of variety in the final third has often meant that they have been toothless.
Shaqiri is versatile and can also play on the right or in the No 10 role, and the only potential problem for Southampton is that he may well have plenty of offers from elsewhere, especially if a prospective deal isn’t wrapped up before the World Cup.