Liverpool have completed the signing of Switzerland winger, Xherdan Shaqiri.
Why do we want him? What is he going to offer? And why does it look like he has had thirteen rump steaks implanted into his calves?
So what’s the deal?
Xherdan is a quintessential winger; good with both feet and comfortable through the middle or on either flank in the attacking third. He isn’t Mo Salah levels of rapid, but he could hold his own in a foot-race against a less super-human opponent. At 5’5 he is only a wee fella, but you wouldn’t hold this against him because he’s built like a brick shit-house. His stumpy (sorry, Xherdan) frame gives a good base for his aptitude with close control and dribbling, the low centre of gravity coupled with a good touch make dispossessing him difficult.
All in all, he is well suited physically for an effective wide man, as long as he isn’t trying to win possession with his head (23% aerial duels won for Stoke).
His strengths are in his dribbling, finishing (34% accuracy, 15 goals), tackling (!?) – 62% of his tackles won the ball at Stoke, and his crossing and his passing (25% cross success is incidently the same as everyone’s favourite crosser, Keiran Trippier). He’s also scored three Premier League freekicks since moving to Stoke and has created 29 goal scoring chances, on top of his 15 goals and 15 assists in 84 domestic appearances.
But what about…?
His weaknesses are in his aerial prowess….and that’s about it. Oh and he look’s a bit like Tintin (the roid-rage years). I’ve been trying to find evidence to support the narrative that he’s lazy and doesn’t work for the team, but I have, so far, been unsuccessful.
There must be a downside, right?
So statistically he has done well in English football, physically he is well suited for the Liverpool ‘mad as a box of frogs’ style, and he has plenty of experience in European football (26 Champions League appearances and eight in the Europa League), and has even made nine appearances at the World Cup (scored four). He has won 74 caps for Switzerland, scoring 21 and assisting 19. This is all very impressive for a man of his age.
At 26, he is also approaching his prime years, and after signing his four-year deal, these years will come whilst he wears the red of Liverpool. He brings with him a history of success with his Champions League, three Bundesliga, two German cups, three Swiss leagues, and two Swiss cup winners’ medals.
£13m for a player that was relegated?
Calm it down there. He is, apparently, valued at £16.2m so whichever way you look at it, this is a good deal.
You’re telling me there’s nothing I can complain about?
His medical went without any problems (though after the Fekir debacle, I’m wasn’t counting any chickens), and he became a Liverpool player a full week before the tour of the US begins on 21st July. Just bear in mind, I expect his medical consisted of not much more than the LFC doctor looking at this specimen and wondering how footballing dexterity is possible with legs like a genetically modified horse.
Xherdan probably won’t start too often initially. He does, after all, occupy the same position as Mohamed ‘the immovable’ Salah, but like I said before, he is very versatile. As long as he’s willing to operate on the periphery of the Liverpool front-three, work as hard as Jurgen Klopp will demand, and put to bed those ridiculous nationalist hand-gestures; Shaqiri will be a success at Liverpool.