A product of FC Basel’s youth academy, Xherdan Shaqiri has been attracting envious glances from clubs all over Europe. The 20-year-old’s future has been the center of intense speculation linking him with the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid and with good reason. He is the rising star of Swiss football.
Shaqiri won the best player accolade at the Under-15 Nike Cup in 2007 while representing Basel’s youth team. Despite strong interest from abroad, he decided to stay in Basel and signed his first professional contract with the club in 2009. He made his debut in July of that same year, and hasn’t looked back since.
He is known for his sheer raw pace and speed, both on and off the ball. He boasts immaculate technique and balance coupled with zero back-lift when going for goal. Left-footed he may be, but he’s more than comfortable playing on either wing or just behind the striker as an attacking midfielder.
His ability to dictate the tempo of play has drawn widespread praise from managers and scouts alike. His composure on the ball helps him to pick out the best options available to him thus making his decision-making mature beyond his years. He has a direct running style and a box of tricks, making him one of the most revered youngsters in Europe.
His stock rose even further at the Euro U-21 Championships last summer and he cemented his place in the Swiss national side after a stunning hat-trick against Bulgaria.
Which begs the question – why hasn’t a big club swooped in for him yet? The key reason for this is his attitude. He has a touch of arrogance about him and describing himself as ‘a very special player’ has not helped his cause. This gives the impression that his decisions will be swayed by money, rather than football. He has also drawn criticism from some quarters due to his lack of work ethic and negative body language.
If he can work on his issues, Shaqiri has a very bright future ahead of him and it won’t be long before one of the big clubs sign him up.