A former Manchester United target is now blossoming in the Bundesliga.
Having just inspired his Basle team to a 2-1 Champions League win over United, Sir Alex Ferguson had seen what the latest man to be dubbed the new Lionel Messi could do, leading to talk of a £10million summer switch to Old Trafford.
A winger equally comfortable on either flank, and with the diminutive stature and precocious talent similar to the Argentine superstar, Shaqiri was seen as the perfect remedy for a side who would soon drop into the Europa League.
When comments from Shaqiri condemned United’s lack of preparation for the double-header against Basle, it seemed unlikely he would be joining them any time soon. Few players who end up at Old Trafford condemn them in print.
And that was proved correct when the Swiss international ultimately made the move to Bayern Munich.
As with numerous players linked with United, their fans have no doubt forgotten about Shaqiri. A rumour only stays in the memory until a fresh one comes along.
But a look at the player’s progress at the newly-crowned German champions gives a glimpse of what Ferguson’s side are missing.
In last week’s German Cup semi-final against Wolfsburg, Shaqiri performed so impressively that Bayern’s sporting director Matthias Sammer was effusive in his praise.
“That was world class. Xherdan played superbly,” he said.
With one goal and three assists in a 6-1 win (a result that is fast-becoming Bayern’s score-line of choice) the 21-year-old was outstanding.
Currently behind Franck Ribery for a regular starting spot, Shaqiri is playing into form at exactly the right time.
With the arrival of new manager Pep Guardiola drawing ever closer, everyone at the Allianz Arena will want to get his attention.
To stand out in a side fast becoming unstoppable is quite a feat, and the former United target knows he has to in order to be a regular in the next campaign.
With 22 Bundesliga appearances already this season, Shaqiri is proving to be every bit as good as he was hailed during his time at Basle.
While it has taken him time to find consistency, three goals and four assists in his last six games points to a bright future for a young man very much in the company of stars.
How good is Xherdan Shaqiri? And how well would he have done for Manchester United?
image: © jiazi