Swiss international Xherdan Shaqiri looks increasingly likely to leave current club Inter despite having arrived last January to much fanfare. Oscar La Gambina explores why the former Bayern Munich ace has failed to settle in Serie A.
Along with the arrival of Lukas Podolski – who was equally disappointing – to Inter in January, coach Roberto Mancini had hoped Shaqiri’s versatility and strength would provide more width and overall quality to the Nerazzurri squad and help them regain success once more.
Similarly for the player himself, Inter was seen as a place he could show his true potential to football fans around the world after having two-and-a-half seasons in the shadows of Mario Gotze and Arjen Robben, amongst others, in the Bayern Munich squad.
The Bavarians received plenty of interest in the 23-year-old following his excellent performances at the World Cup in Brazil last summer, but he eventually chose to join the Italian side, with Mancini hoping his belief in Shaqiri’s quality would shine through in Milan.
The reality, however, is that it failed to work out and nobody really knows why.
Despite the presence of the aforementioned players during his time at Bayern, Shaqiri grabbed 17 goals in 81 games overall for the Germans.
In stark contrast, in his 20 appearances for Inter, which is just less than he actually started for Bayern, Shaqiri hit the back of the net only three times.
It wasn’t just on the pitch where there were problems either, as a rift between him and Mancini was rumoured, which was further fueled by Bayern Munich’s Karl Heinz Rummenigge.
“Why do Inter want to sell Shaqiri so quickly? They did tell me, but I cannot reveal that information, no comment.”
The ‘Alpine Messi’ couldn’t convince Mancini of his qualities, with the Italian boss also hinting recently that Shaqiri would leave the club.
“The squad limit is 25, and unfortunately someone will have to go, as we have over 30 players currently.”
Six months into a four-and-a-half year long deal and after lots of expectation placed on his shoulders, not only to match but expand on his previous successes with Bayern, Inter now only see Shaqiri as a cash cow, waiting for the right club to come along and offer a large transfer fee whether he likes it or not.
He refused to join Stoke after Inter agreed a deal worth around €17 million for the player that had reportedly cost €15 million.
But what the reasons are for his spectacular failure are difficult to fathom.
It is difficult to blame Shaqiri himself, mainly because he has had very little time to showcase his talent, making just eight starts for the Serie A side.
Mancini hasn’t given him the chance to express himself and things appear no better now. He has already been omitted from pre-season line-ups against newcomers Carpi and German third-tier side Stuttgarter Kickers.
The Italian coach’s lack of faith has been criticised by German legend Lothar Matthaus, who said:
“Mancini has never had confidence in Shaqiri and has never helped him to adapt. With his qualities, he should never be out of the starting line-up. He has not shown what he can do.”
It appears as though the Swiss international wants to wait for his chance at Inter, however, after refusing Stoke and stalling over a move to German club Schalke, despite both the sporting director of Inter, Piero Ausilio, and general director, Marco Fassone, saying he should either leave or risk being benched for the upcoming season.
At just 23-years-old, the one thing that Shaqiri doesn’t have to worry about is time, but can he really afford to waste another season making bit-part appearances with Inter?
It does seem that he is nothing more than a square peg that won’t fit into a round hole.