Despite being halfway through November, the transfer rumours are starting to warm up again as teams encounter a troublesome season. One of those rumours is resurfacing ahead of the January transfer window is Xherdan Shaqiri moving to a top club in England.
It is reported by the English press that a host of top teams are interested in the Swiss international, with Shaqiri unhappy with the amount of playing time at Bayern Munich, but the main parties involved are Manchester United and Liverpool as both clubs endure lower league positions than they desired.
Shaqiri moved to Bayern Munich in 2012 and enjoyed an active role as the German giants won the treble including the Champions League. Playing 1400 minutes in the league, the former Basel youngster scored 4 goals and assisted 5. Since Guardiola moved to Germany however, the amount of playing time has dropped for Shaqiri as the competition for places increases for Bayern’s attacking players. Unable to dislodge Robben and Ribery, who are in the peaks of their careers, on the wings as well as Mario Gotze and Thomas Muller in the central role, Shaqiri has been in and out of the team in the last 2 seasons as the amount of minutes he played dropped to 799 last campaign.
Despite his small size, Shaqiri has the ability to keep hold of the ball against more physical opponents – something that will be a regular occurrence in the Premier League. Comfortable with both feet as well he can play both on the wing and centrally, his technical ability helps him to drift past players – drawing nearly a foul per match during his Bayern career and 4 per match on average at the World Cup signals how tricky he is to play against – before either crossing or playing a through ball for a team mate or shooting himself from distance which has shown on previous occasions he is capable of doing.
For his country, Shaqiri has a more prominent role and he thrives in it. During this summer’s World Cup, Shaqiri helped Switzerland to the knockout stages and his influence in the attacking third can be seen in the number of shots per game he averaged (5 compared to 1.3 in the league this season), plus the amount of passes and key passes made – 40 and 4.3 respectively compared to 19.9 and 1.3 for Bayern this campaign).
While it is difficult to imagine how the Swiss playmaker would fit into Manchester United’s already bloated attacking options, he could be an inspired signing for blunt looking Liverpool side. With Sterling being the main outlet for Liverpool this season, and sometimes the only outlet, Shaqiri could offer another creative presence as well as playing into the fast, attacking style of play that was so successful for the Merseyside club last season.
Whether the deal takes place in January is the main obstacle as Guardiola is unlikely to be keen to weaken his squad as Bayern compete on all fronts and not wanting a collapse in performances in the final months like last season. If an English club does sign him and he reaches the form he’s capable of, Shaqiri will change the attacking fortunes of his new side.