Where could Xherdan Shaqiri end up next season?
Stoke City is a struggling Premier League side. In fact, they could well be relegated after ten years in England's top flight. With a trip to the Championship looming, players are concerned for their futures. One key star in that situation is Xherdan Shaqiri.
Signing with the Potters back in 2015, the Switzerland international has become Stoke's most sought-after player. The current season has resulted in the short yet stocky playmaker scoring seven goals and assisting six; his best goal contribution in a season since his arrival in England. Acquiring the 26-year-old for £12million from Serie A giants Inter Milan has proven to be a decent bargain. He's quick on the ball, uses close control wonderfully and can also switch roles from the right wing to a central attacking player if required. He's also great off either foot.
In his third season with Stoke City, the 5'6 "Alpine Messi" has stepped up on many occasions to create moments in games to help his team when in danger. The only problem is he is playing in a side who are fighting for their lives. Stoke are now five points inside the drop zone, with 28 points and only four games to go. Most would agree three wins would be enough to stay up but with the battle down there being incredibly tight, two wins and one or two draws could well be enough. With four games remaining, Shaqiri is obviously keen to help his current side from falling into the depths of despair.
The opponents the Staffordshire-based side have to still play include Burnley at home, Liverpool away, Crystal Palace at home and Swansea away. There is still that hopeful glimmer, but most fans will have accepted it could be too little too late. But could Shaqiri be the man to show everybody he has the ability to keep Stoke alive for next season?
Say Stoke are relegated, what would be the first thing Shaqiri is thinking? I want to play top-level football. I want to play in Europe. I want to play with the best. Although a humble character, he is worthy of an ambitious career. The guy is still only 26! Signing from Inter, playing with Bayern Munich and starting out at Basel, Shaqiri already has many honours to his name. Winning the Bundesliga on two occasions while winning the Champions League. At Basel, he contributed to three league titles.
Many neutral fans will probably agree a player like Shaqiri could be good enough to fit into a top-six side in England. If he steps into a quality team he can adjust to the level he so highly demands from other players. That is where Stoke are lacking. Even if The Potters survive this season, and that is a big if, Shaqiri would probably want to play in a squad that is competing in European competition and possibly competing for a league title. It is actually quite surprising that nobody has even come in with an offer for him already.
Shaqiri sent shockwaves during the 2016 European Championships against Poland. His overhead kick goal was a top highlight of the whole competition. That is an example of when he can produce his best. The "Magic Dwarf" knows he has to focus on Stoke's final handful of games but realistically, we all know he should be moving on to do better things with his career. Would he fare better in a top six side in England or should he even return back to Bayern or Inter?