Stoke City got the needle scribbling on the transfer Richter scale when it was announced they’d brokered a deal with Inter Milan to sign Swiss forward Xherdan Shaqiri.
The enigmatic Nerazzurri attacker, who was only signed from Bayern Munich in January, will be allowed to leave for the Britannia for £12m, a seemingly small fee for a player recognised as one of the most technically gifted in European football.
Personal terms are all that need to be agreed upon now, yet logic dictates the Potters wouldn’t have wasted their time making the offer if they didn’t believe they had a chance of convincing the player to sign.
On the surface, this potential switch strikes as something of a coup; Shaqiri was linked with sides of Liverpool’s stature before opting to join Inter, but reasonable price and reputation aside, there’s an element of ‘too good to be true’ about this mooted move.
The Kosovan-born 23-year-old excels in any of the final third roles that support a solo striker and has the gravitas to command the star man status in Staffordshire he has been bereft of since leaving Basel for Bayern in 2012.
However, given the dire straits Inter found themselves in last term, marooned in the Serie A middle ground, such an opportunity was ready to be taken at one of the world’s biggest clubs.
Yet, six months into a four-and-a-half-year contract, the Swiss has been allowed to leave for a sum that is no way suggests he’s an integral part of Roberto Mancini’s future plans.
Leading clubs rarely sell footballers less than a year into a long-term contract and it’s even rarer still that those supposedly elite players opt to sign for Stoke.
With all the reupholstering going on at Inter and the tumultuousness nature of Serie A, the Nerazzurri stand a chance of qualifying for the Champions League next term.
The prospects of the Potters harbouring such an aim in the foreseeable future are flimsy in the extreme; something doesn’t quite add up.
Furthermore, Mark Hughes’ side were allegedly one of the clubs in the running for Shaqiri’s signature when he was set to leave Bayern, yet he, logically, ignored their overtures in favour of Inter.
The fact the possibility exists for him to reverse this decision after such a short time indicates he has prevalent issues regarding attitude and commitment and it’s difficult to envisage how such a player would integrate into Stoke’s laudable ethos founded on discipline and hard work.
Nevertheless, a price of 4/5 says the Swiss wizard signs for the Midlands outfit before the close of the summer transfer window.