Why Newcastle must sign Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri ahead of Liverpool
Xherdan Shaqiri made headlines after Switzerland’s 2-1 win over Serbia in the World Cup. The winger scored in stoppage time, keeping the Swiss team right behind leaders Brazil in group E. Both Shaqiri and Xhaka made hand signals representing the double-headed eagle on the Albanian flag as part of their celebrations and that led to a good amount of controversy.
However, Shaqiri has also been attracting a lot of interest from Premier League clubs after Stoke City’s relegation to the Championship. Liverpool are interested in the player and the club are reportedly preparing a bid for the former Bayern Munich man. But let’s take a look as to why Newcastle United should jump the gun and make a bid for the player.
Shaqiri was one of Stoke’s shining lights in an otherwise underwhelming season, which saw the club drop down to the second division. The winger was crucial to their chances of staying up but his efforts eventually ended in vain. The 26-year-old made a total of 36 appearances for the Potters last season, scoring 8 goals and providing 7 assists in that time.
He is quite short but the player utilizes his height to his advantage. Shaqiri often runs at players who often find it hard to stop him due to his low centre of gravity. He’s got a mean left foot and is capable of making long-range shots. The Swiss international is also excellent at set-pieces, having scored a sublime free-kick against Crystal Palace last season. It goes without saying that Shaqiri was one of the Potters’ best players last season by a fine margin.
Rafa Benitez could utilize a player with his qualities at Newcastle. Apart from Christian Atsu, the Magpies do not possess an out-and-out orthodox winger in their ranks. Shaqiri could come in and go straight into the first team. He could play on the right-wing, with Atsu taking the role on the other side. The combined presence of Atsu and Shaqiri up front should provide Newcastle with greater width to stretch opposition defences.
Shaqiri is also capable of playing a wide number of roles in the midfield and is quite versatile. He can slot in right behind the striker in a supporting role and the likes of Dwight Gayle and Ayoze Perez should benefit from his presence. The Stoke star has the ability to pick out that perfect pass in the final third, and that’s exactly what the Magpies’ strikers need.
Newcastle scored merely 39 goals in the league last season and their attack hardly seemed threatening. If Benitez can get one over his former club and sign the Switzerland man before they do, it will certainly provide him with ample attacking options next season.
Shaqiri is also enjoying a fine World Cup campaign, having chipped in with a goal and an assist in 2 games. Stoke’s relegation to the Championship will allow Benitez to sign him for just £12million. Given the price they have to pay, Shaqiri is a steal and Newcastle must go all out to beat Liverpool in the race to sign him.