Despite enduring difficult spells at Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, Xherdan Shaqiri’s arrival at Stoke City back in 2015 surprised everyone.
Capable of playing on either flank, Shaqiri is a very technically gifted footballer who probably had half of Europe’s elite clubs chasing him before eventually deciding to join Bayern Munich from Basel.
With that in mind, Stoke’s capture of the 26-year-old was a shock, but one that supporters were absolutely delighted with.
@stokecity most impressive, fantastic, amazing signing in my Stoke supporting life. I’m 34 and been watching Stoke for 26 years
— Craig (@monketyflink) August 11, 2015
@stokecity what a signing
— Jack Nadin (@Jacknadin26) August 11, 2015
@stokecity proud of the club , well done
— ZacCutler (@InsperationalZC) August 11, 2015
— pottermouth2 (@pottermouth78) August 11, 2015
Shaqiri is now playing his football at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp following Stoke’s relegation to the Championship, but his time at the bet365 stadium can only be seen as a success.
He was the team’s biggest goal threat — alongside Marko Arnautovic — and was pivotal in the revolution Stoke went under Mark Hughes.
When Tony Pulis was in the dugout, to put things simply, Stoke were a terrible team to watch who only looked capable of launching the ball towards the centre-forwards and kicking the lumps out of opponents.
And while Hughes’ last few months in charge were a disaster, he was still able to transform the Potters into a much more attractive side thanks to signings such as Shaqiri, Arnautovic, Bojan and Ibrahim Afellay.
In the end, however, Shaqiri had to depart Stoke given the ability he has — although a move to Liverpool might not have been the best of moves for his career.
With Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino guaranteed starters in Klopp’s starting XI, Shaqiri will have to settle for a bit-part role at Anfield, just like during his time in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich.
Nevertheless, for Stoke, Shaqiri was a brilliant acquisition and an absolute coup for the club.
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