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Xherdan Shaqiri's Liverpool transfer,Jurgen Klopp's misfit

Premier League

Jurgen Klopp will make another misfit (Xherdan Shaqiri) into real star

Xherdan Shaqiri’s Liverpool linkup is all about hiring mini-Messis

Top 10 footballers who never settled at a club

When a footballer who has the potential and he doesn’t know what he’s doing with his career, I think Liverpool is the right fit for him. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is the right person to bring the best out of those misfits. He made the best out of Chelsea’s failed star Mohamed Salah after bringing him back into Premier League from AS Roma. Now, he has another misfit in Xherdan Shaqiri and he is ready to make him real star.

Shaqiri has many names – Cube of Power, Magic Dwarf, Alpine Messi, and some even say ‘Swiss Messi’. These are big words for a 1.69m dwarf man. He has been compared with football’s greatest star Lionel Messi as well, at least his nickname say so. So, where did it go wrong that a player of his ability have to play for a relegated team Stoke City?

He has been to big clubs like Mohamed Salah, but his career didn’t take him anywhere. He started well playing for Swiss club FC Basel winning three Swiss Super League titles. Then, he made a mega move to Bayern Munich at the age of 20 in 2012, and won eight trophies there including UEFA Champions League in 2012/13 season. But, he was never a regular starter with Bavarian giants during his three year stay.

Shaqiri moved to Inter Milan in January 2015, in search of playing time for €15 million. It seems to be a great move for the Swiss international, but Nerazzurri’s tactical style of football didn’t suit him. Within six months, he landed himself at Stoke City for their club record fee of €12 million.

If you consider Shaqiri’s ability and his dream to play for big clubs, Stoke City didn’t fit in his plans. No one likes to come from Bayern Munich and land up at Stoke City, when he knew his best years have yet to come. But, he had no choice. Big clubs were not ready to bet on him and Potters come up with a plan.

He shined playing for The Potters and some of his goals earned accolades by TV Pundits in England. He scored his first goal for Stoke City in 4-3 win over Everton on 28 Dec 2015, scoring a first-half brace. His second goal which was a half-volley over Tim Howard earned applaud by BBC’s Final Score pundit Garth Crooks. He said, “That is the best goal I have seen this season. He knew exactly what he was doing, it is absolutely sublime.”

Shaqiri then goes on to score a 20 yard stunner against New Castle United. Then, he again scored a brilliant free-kick from 20 yard against Middlesbrough on the opening day of 2016/17 season. He also scored a brace against Hull City scoring both goals from outside the box on 22 Oct 2016, and complimenting them with another stunner in return leg as well, and that was Stoke City’s goal of the season.

He is a pure talent. No one can deny it and his skills have always been on full display playing for Swiss national side. He has made 74 appearances for Switzerland scoring 21 times. His latest display at FIFA World Cup 2018 also earned accolades and some even say that he plays better playing for his national side.

Shaqiri has also been controversial with his comments. He always wears shoes with Kosovo and Swiss flags on his left and right boot respectively. Sometimes, he simply denied to sing Swiss national anthem before the game. His latest controversy was his ‘two eagles‘ goal celebration during 2-1 victory over Serbia bringing in Balkan Politics into the game. It was pure emotion for his country of birth but it costs him fine from FIFA. He was lucky not to be banned.

Stoke City player also didn’t give a very good impression criticizing his teammates when his team were battling with relegation. He told Swiss Magazine Schweizer Illustriete, “Stoke City lacks quality and even the presence of Ronaldinho wouldn’t improve them”.

Finally, Stoke City suffered relegation despite Shaqiri’s best effort. He scored eight goals and was top scorer for them, but couldn’t help them out of relegation.

Liverpool saw there an opportunity to grab a player of his quality cheap. It only cost them £13 million to land him at Anfield. It was a bargain buy and who can describe it better than Jurgen Klopp, the man who is responsible for turning misfits into real stars.

Klopp told Liverpool FC official website, “I think the English phrase to explain the decision to sign Xherdan is a ‘no brainer’. When someone like him becomes available in this way you have to react if you’re smart – and we have.”

“He has speed and ability, has the right amount of arrogance on the football pitch, real bravery to want the ball and influence things. To play for us these are mandatory requirements. We are the perfect move for him in the moment as well I think, because he needs to push himself and challenge himself and our environment encourages that. We’ll want him to express himself but also learn and improve the areas of his game where he can still make progression.”

Liverpool boss added, “From our perspective, he is someone who makes a big difference to the squad and the team, because he can fit in so many positions in our system. He gives us greater flexibility in how we can use our current players also. This is cool.”

“I know him well from his time in Switzerland and especially Germany – I have been a long-time admirer. But the added bonus now is that he knows the Premier League and what it takes to perform in this uniquely intense environment. He also did really well at the World Cup – so he comes to us full of belief and confidence.”

Klopp’s admiration for Shaqiri only points to one thing. He is not one of the misfits which people think so, he is a value addition for him.

Liverpool boss added, “Finally, Xherdan the person will fit in perfectly at Liverpool I believe. He has personality and drive – he’s someone who will feed off the positive emotion of our crowd. He joins a dressing room of really good lads and I know they’ll welcome him with open arms and help him settle and integrate quickly.”

Shaqiri is also very optimistic about his move to Liverpool. He said, “As a player you always want to be on the biggest stage in football. A few years ago I wanted to come too but it didn’t happen. I’m really happy that now I’m finally here. I want to improve myself too, I want to be with the best and I want to win titles. That’s what I’m here for.”


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