If the Swiss Alps are some of the rockiest mountains in Europe, then speculation regarding the transfer of the Bayern Munich midfielder, Xherdan Shaqiri has now reached an unimaginable altitude.
The right-sided midfielder, who was tipped to become Europe’s let alone Germany’s finest player when he signed from Swiss side, FC Basel in the summer of 2012 has struggled to reach heights initially expected of him.
Indeed, he was never really given the chance to prove his full worth to a Bayern side who over the past couple of years have dominated world football.
When he joined the German champions on the back of Bayern’s soul-destroying Champions League defeat to Chelsea on penalties in front of their own loyal subjects, mastermind tactician, Jupp Heynckes was in charge, and the club was a very different place.
However, when Pep Guardiola took over the reins from Heynckes who said goodbye to football having won Bayern the long-awaited treble, Shaqiri’s time at the club went from being served between the first-team and the bench to having a count-down clock strapped to his arm.
Fast forward a season, and the Swiss international despite trying to build a name for himself in Munich and to get into Guardiola’s good books, Shaqiri was told by the former Barcelona manager that he was free to look for another club as he was no longer interested in him.
However, as the famous saying in life goes, one man’s loss is another man’s gain, and the man who is smugly rubbing his hands together, just 500 kilometres away is Inter Milan president, Erik Thohir who today made a rather tasty looking deal to bring the Swiss international to the cosmopolitan Italian city.
The Kosovo-born youngster will now join on an initial six-month loan deal from Bayern before signing a four year deal on 1st July, for the reasonable fee of just 18 million euros.
Football at war
This comes after a tug of war between Inter, Liverpool and Stoke who all went to the extent of offering incredible personal terms such as a free sports car and house if he was to join them. I n the end he made the right decision to join a team who are on the up.
Having won seven major trophies including, two Bundesliga titles, the Champions League and the FIFA World Club cup and accumulating over £4 million in wages during his two years at the club, the 23 year old will no doubt be crossing the Brenner Pass without any regrets.
After all, he came to Bayern as one of the most promising midfielders in his position, and despite not playing as much as he had initially wished prior to signing, he has now left Bayern still very much the same.
The Swiss international who scored three goals for the Alpine nation during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, now has the chance to prove his worth at a team who are attempting to reach the same heights as they achieved under Jose Mourinho’s treble winning season in 2010.
However, in order to achieve this they will need all the help that they can possible get and despite making a huge effort to do this by signing, Lukas Podolski on a six-month loan deal from Arsenal, Shaqiri will be the real Moses in this optimistic fable.
What now for Bayern?
While Shaqiri heads into the sun-set with the burning desire to put two years of moderate stagnation behind him to become the player he was initially tipped to be, where does this now leave Bayern? Not in the best of states.
The German giants who themselves are attempting to get the show back on the road by snatching the Champions League crown away from Real Madrid, are now a player short and a touch less of posing an attacking threat.
Whilst many of you might disagree with me and say that Guardiola’s side are still the epitome of an attacking machine, let me just ask you this. What will happen if Arjen Robben suffers a long-term injury or his form starts to dip?
The main reason why Bayern paid FC Basel 12 million euros for the stocky winger, is that he would eventually be able to fill the boots of Robben, once the Dutchman either moved to pastures new or retired.
Unfortunately, for Shaqiri and Bayern in general is that Robben had been experiencing the best of his career in the time that the Swiss international was at the Allianz Arena outfit, meaning that he was simply unable to compete or impress.
With the Dutchman now cruising into his autumnal years, the Bayern hierarchy will now feel obliged to sign a replacement for Shaqiri. However this might be harder than you may think.
A laughing stock
The Bavarian outfit, now have two options, and that is either to discard Robben and splash out on Gareth Bale or indeed source another promising youngster, who will still need to be convinced that he does not turn into the new Shaqiri.
One thing for sure is that Bayern are the real losers in this situation, and god will only know why they sold the youngster on for a fee which might one day look laughable.
Indeed, the only ones who might be laughing at Bayern in years to come will be Inter and Shaqiri, who could well become Europe’s main talking point in the very near future.