Iconic Bayern Munich midfielder Steffan Effenberg has risked the wrath of Stoke supporters with his scathing assessment of former Die Roten forward Xherdan Shaqiri’s decision to sign for the Potters.
“I do not understand Shaqiri’s move to Stoke at all. You have been badly advised if you go there,” Effenberg told Sky Sports. “You have to ask yourself where you can reach your sporting goals as a footballer. That should be the challenge. Schalke would have been perfect for Shaqiri.”
With Mark Hughes assembling a squad laden with Champions League winners and fast establishing his side in the Premier League’s upper echelons, the Staffordshire club rate a very good outside bet for the top six at 14/1.
Schalke, where Shaqiri would’ve gone had Effenberg been his agent, finished some 13 points outside the top-four in last season’s Bundesliga and, judging from their transfer activity this summer, the signs they’ll reclaim a spot at Europe’s top table this time around are not easy to spot.
But this isn’t the only reason why Germany’s all time leading yellow card collector is wrong regarding Shaqiri’s move to Stoke.
After struggling to regularly make the first team at Bayern, the Swiss was sold to Inter in January, though left his best form behind in the Bundesliga.
Few would debate the previous season was one of stagnation for 23-year-old, which is why Stoke is the perfect place for him.
Hughes has reinvigorated plenty of ailing careers during his Britannia tenure, no least his own.
Bojan Krkic, Charlie Adam, Victor Moses and Oussama Assaidi – all attacking players that share some of Shaqiri’s qualities – are the most notable of those who have benefitted from Hughes applying the defibrillator to their flat-lining existences in professional football.
Similarly, the Kosovan-born forward’s inability to flourish at both Bayern and Inter bears little resemblance to his performances in a Switzerland shirt.
His scoring rate of over one every three international outings is far superior to a club return of less than one in every five.
One suggestion behind his national team revelry is that when he dons his adopted-country’s colours, Shaqiri assumes the role of mac daddy and, judging from his improved efforts in front of goal, it’s a responsibility he loves.
When forced to play a peripheral part, as was the case at Bayern in particular, he struggles to replicate these standards.
At Stoke, for whom he is the most expensive player ever purchased, he won’t be wanting for adoration, providing the perfect environment for him to do the business.