Liverpool announced the signing of winger Xherdan Shaqiri late Friday, making him the third new arrival of the summer.
The Swiss international joins the Reds for a fee in the region of £13 million after the Potters’ relegation triggered a bargain release clause in his contract.
Value for money and a proven winner
In today’s market, getting an established Premier League footballer of Shaqiri’s ability is brilliant business. Not only will he add some much-needed depth to the wings, but he adds experience to a young Liverpool side.
During his time with Bayern Munich, Shaqiri won two Bundesliga titles, two DFB-Pokals, a DFL-Supercup, a Champions League title, a UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup. In the 2012-13 season, Shaqiri also registered the most goals and assists in the DFB-Pokal at just 21 years of age.
Since arriving at Stoke from Inter, Shaqiri’s ability has never been questioned; however, pundits and fans alike have often criticised his attitude and work-rate. It’s one of the reasons why some Reds fans have an issue with the signing, even at that price.
Watching how lazy Shaqiri is to track back I cant see how in anyway he fits into a klopp side, his work rate in non existent
— John O Sullivan (@Corballyred) June 22, 2018
— Indy Football (@IndyFootball) June 17, 2018
Perhaps surprisingly, Shaqiri made more interceptions per game than both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané in the Premier League last season, while also managing more tackles per game than the former. After a few months working with Jürgen Klopp, those numbers could, and more than likely would, improve.
In the final third, Shaqiri managed eight goals and seven assists last campaign, the most of any Stoke player in both areas. Those numbers pale in comparison to Salah’s and are slightly less than Mané’s.
But with a much higher calibre of player around him this season, Shaqiri could potentially improve those figures, even as a squad player. It’s also worth noting that he has arguably more creative upside, having generated 16 big chances last season, more than both Salah and Mané.
Klopp’s transfer history
Looking at Klopp’s signings during his time at Anfield, it’s been near enough perfect. Fans complained over the Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain signing, as they did about Andrew Robertson and Mané. The trio – all signed from Premier League clubs — have been outstanding since joining the Reds.
It’s well-known that Klopp goes to great lengths to learn as much about his transfer targets as possible and makes sure that he meets the player. If Klopp had any issues with Shaqiri, you can be sure this would have been dead in the water long ago.
Shaqiri has all the makings of a top player, and Klopp’s track record of signings at Anfield should give fans confidence in the boss’s judgement. The Swiss enjoyed a fairly decent season in an otherwise poor Stoke side, and it can be argued that he’s not even reached his peak yet. Under the tutelage of a top manager, he could become a real force.
For just over £13 million, it’s a no brainer.