With three Premier League teams headed for Championship football for the 2018/19 season, a flurry of clubs will be on alert to snap up players capable of remaining in the top flight. One such player is Xherdan Shaqiri, who could be available at a cut price following Stoke City's demise.
West Ham ready to keep Shaqiri in the Premier League
The Swiss international has already confirmed he is looking to move on from Stoke after suffering relegation, with West Ham reportedly leading the race for his services as they look to overhaul their squad, adding extra quality in the ranks under their new management.
It is believed that Shaqiri will be available for approximately £12million, prompting a number of interest parties to circulate including Spurs and Southampton according to The Mirror. Directly involved in 15 Premier League goals last season, the forward scored eight goals and registered seven assists for Stoke , reflecting his contribution in the final third. Given The Hammers struggled to deliver a potent attacking threat at times this season, Shaqiri's arrival could provide another avenue of attack - an unpredictable one at that.
The move would also allow a reunion between Arnautovic and Shaqiri from their days at The Britannia. In the two seasons they enjoyed together, they recorded a combined tally of 26 goals and 20 assists; nice numbers for any Hammers fans. Consequently, a plethora of fans have stated their desire to see West Ham secure the forwards services this summer, marking a positive start to Pellegrini's reign as boss.
Questions surrounding Shaqiri's team ethic could jeopardise a deal
As good as Shaqiri can be on his day, that day doesn't come around very often. The 26-year-old isn't known for his consistency, often passsing games by with peripheral displays that give the side little attacking impetus. In addition, he's often found guilty of delivering lazy performances, thus failing to contribute to a high pressing philosophy.
That could raise some concerns for West Ham; Marko Arnautovic struggled during his first few months at the club for that very same reason and since he's got on board with the overall team picture, he's become their standout player during the 2017/18 campaign. Similar circumstances could see Shaqiri fail to deliver at the London club, splitting reactions amongst the fanbase as to whether it would be a fruitful move this summer.
It'll be interesting to see what comes of West Ham's interest in the coming weeks and months. Xherdan Shaqiri is certainly a talented footballer, able to provide an extra threat to the forward line while proving a nightmare for defenders with his unpredictable style. Yet, such unpredictability can also be a hindrance for his teammates, with issues of laziness and inconsistency the two major concerns. Time will tell if Pellegrini thinks he's worth the punt at such a relatively low price.