Xherdan Shaqiri has had one of the most interesting careers in world football, which has been marked by regression.
From being a treble winner with Bayern Munich, his career has seemingly spiralled downhill. He was transferred to Inter Milan in 2015; still a very respected club in Europe, but possibly a notch below the German giants. After one season, he left for middle of the table Premier League outfit Stoke. He left in the summer after three years with The Potters, which culminated in the club being relegated in the summer.
In fact, looking at Shaqiri’s career backwards from the summer, it looks like quite a good progression for a player. Working his way from Stoke to a Champions League winner. However, Liverpool gave the winger a lifeline in the summer by meeting his £13m release clause.
This offered the 75-cap Switzerland international an opportunity to prove himself once again at a big club in Europe. Under Jürgen Klopp, The Reds are on the rise in Europe, shown by their marvellous run in the Champions League last year. If the 26-year-old Shaqiri can establish himself in this team, he could consider his career officially revived.
That isn’t to say that he struggled at Stoke, but it just seemed a strange move for a player of his pedigree, certainly on paper. His accolades spoke for themselves, and he looked destined for a bigger club, particularly at such a young age. He was probably Stoke’s best player, but he still could not managed to prevent the club from being relegated. Now he no longer has the burden of carrying his team, he may well excel at Liverpool.
The trouble is, finding a way into this Liverpool may prove to be a very difficult task. After all, in order for the Swiss star to start, he needs to usurp none other than last season’s Golden Boot Winner and PFA Players’ Player of the Year winner, Mo Salah. If he opts to play on the other wing, he has Sadio Mané to contend with. In that respect, his work is certainly cut out for him.
Shaqiri (valued at £16.2m on Transfermarkt.co.uk) is yet to play a minute in the Premier League under Klopp, he was given a brief five minute spell against PSG in the Champions League, but that remains his only action to date.
But he is stuck in an awkward position. Liverpool will be a perfect platform to earn a move to another top club in Europe, but unfortunately he needs to be playing. However, he just isn’t up to the standard of Salah and Mané, meaning he may get limited game time, which could adversely affect his career.
So as long as the Egyptian and the Senegalese wingers remain at the club, Shaqiri will struggle. Unless he wants to play second fiddle to these two throughout his time at Anfield, he should look for a way out.
The most he can hope is that he starts to feature more regularly for The Reds, be it from the bench or as Klopp looks to rotate players. If that happens, he may be able to do enough to raise his stock and earn himself a decent transfer elsewhere.
Shaqiri is a good player and an asset to any team, but unfortunately he has joined one of the best attacks in world football. There is a host of high quality players that would struggle to get into this Liverpool team, and there is no shame in Shaqiri struggling. But if he wants to establish himself as a first team regular in some of Europe’s biggest teams, he has to look elsewhere.