Connect in the back of the net

Ticket sales have increased, Stoke City have been inundated with shirt sales, and requests for the name Shaqiri to be printed on the back. So, it seems the record signing has made quite an impact at the football club already.

£12 million is a lot of money, but sometimes you have to spend money to make money. So, what exactly can Xherdan Shaqiri ‘make’ for Stoke?

Well, aside from the revenue he has already drummed up from the current supporters, he has put Stoke City on the map (to an extent).

A highly sought after player who chose to come to a mid-league Premier League team, you could hear and read pundits exclaiming: “What does that say about their ambitions? We’ll have to make sure we follow Stoke this year to see how he gets on.” His presence is a source of marketing in itself.


What does Shaqiri bring?

But what does he bring on the pitch? And why, in the title, have I named him the Alexis Sanchez of Stoke? Well, he shares many similarities with Alexis Sanchez; he is small, quick, dogged and talented.

He is their marquee signing and a signing that has really got the supporters excited. He seems the type of player to drag Stoke through games if they are not playing well.

He likes to play out on the left, he will take the ball inside and run it all the way to the centre of the pitch before rasping in a 25 yard drives, this is his speciality.

Of course, there is more to his game than that and perhaps most importantly it is his determination without the ball that will make him an asset to Stoke.


Why Sanchez is popular among Arsenal supporters

The reason for Alexis Sanchez’s popularity among Arsenal supporters in not just his quality, it is work rate and his desire to do well for the team.

Often, the top players or the best players from a squad, can feel that their talent is enough to keep them in the team and therefore do not feel like they have to muck in and do the dirty work.

Although it can’t be guaranteed yet, Shaqiri seems like the type of player to do the best for his team no matter what.


Not as good as Sanchez, but still a fine player

I don’t think he is as good as Sanchez, I feel like Sanchez is a 2.0 version of Shaqiri — an upgrade if you will. However, this is not to say that he is not a great player and that he won’t be a hit for Stoke. In fact it is to say the opposite.

He will lift the supporters and lift the dressing room and that will give Stoke a psychological advantage.

With a few good performances, to back up his hype, his mere presence will make the club a greater threat to opponents.


This piece was first published at the excellent The Players Only Club here


Written by Jonny Troy

Follow Jonny on Twitter @Jonny_Troy

Check out his excellent football blog, where this piece was originally published: The Players Only Club

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