To say it’s been a frustrating campaign for Bayern Munich midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri would be an understatement, but the 22-year-old Switzerland international has taken his opportunity to shine at this summer’s World Cup finals with both hands. Any watching scouts - including those from Manchester United - will report back to their clubs with extremely favourable assessments about this gifted, versatile midfielder.
Shaqiri could walk into most teams in world football, but the immense competition for places at the Allianz Arena means this classy midfield operator has, more often than not, found himself on the substitutes’ bench since arriving at the club from FC Basel in 2012. It was with Basel, his first professional club, where he cemented his status as a potential superstar of the game.
Shaqiri open to leaving Bayern Munich
Sadly, his opportunities to shine at the Allianz Arena have been few and far between - and, subsequently, he is - according to reports - open to leaving the Bundesliga champions in order to play regular first-team football elsewhere.
Liverpool and Manchester United are the two clubs believed to be at the front of the queue - but, rest assured, the Premier League duo will be joined by a host of top European club in the race to sign Shaqiri if it becomes apparent that Bayern are willing to do business.
Manchester United must splash the cash
Manchester United are on the brink of securing the services of Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera, but they need more than the Spain Under-23 international to challenge the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal for a top-four finish - and possibly even the Premier League title - next season.
Shaqiri would be a fabulous acquisition. Having worked under Pep Guardiola for the past season, United boss Louis van Gaal knows this a player coached to a very high standard with extraordinary technical ability. Van Gaal likes all of his players to be assured in possession - and Shaqiri is a player capable of walking into any new club and working his magic instantaneously.
Van Gaal could either use him alongside Herrera in midfield or in any of three positions behind Robin van Persie. At Bayern Munich, Shaqiri has been deployed in central midfield, wide right, wide left, in the hole and, on a couple of occasions, as a False 9.
Potential bargain - if United act swiftly
Bayern Munich’s asking price for Shaqiri, you suspect, will continue to rise and rise the longer Switzerland stay in the World Cup. The midfielder scored three sumptuous goals in the final Group E match against Honduras this evening and has looked every inch the potential superstar he undoubtedly could - and will, provided he joins the right club - become.
Earlier this month it was reported that Liverpool were close to completing a £15 million deal for the midfielder. That price will have increased - but anything between £20 million and £25 million would still be a relative bargain for a player of his age and potential.
Manchester United fans: would you like to see Shaqiri at Old Trafford? If you’re unsure - here’s a video which may help you decide…