"It's clear I don't want to continue like this."
Those were the words of Bayern Munich's Swiss sensation Xherdan Shaqiri, spoken in an interview with 20min.ch at the end of May. They came after three thigh injuries, including one that ended his club season, and in the process of gearing up for Switzerland, a team in which he was the focal point in attack.
Liverpool was one of a few clubs that started flexing their claws when the Swiss football site released these words, reportedly ready to pounce at an opportunity to snatch the 22-year-old attacking talent. Sporting director Matthias Sammer is now doing his best to shoo the Mersyside vultures away, telling kicker that he is not for sale.
"Xherdan is an important player for the future. There are absolutely no thoughts of giving him up. We are happy with him."
Such a stark stand from Sammer is a good broom with which to shoo the vultures away from Shaqiri. That said, the word "future" sticks out in his comments.
Forget the personnel ramifications of Bayern's wing depth for a second, for there is a more pressing issue. Shaqiri's contract runs until 2016, which does not only give him two seasons remaining, but also making him a salivating free transfer target at the tender age of 24.
Toni Kroos was in the exact same position last season as Shaqiri will be going into his third year with the club. For one reason or another, Bayern and Kroos could not come to terms on an extension, and it appears at the moment that the 24-year-old midfielder is on his way to Real Madrid.
Unlike Shaqiri, though, Kroos had a hold on a spot in the lineup for the past two years. He was not battling for a spot in the side, but rather his teammates were battling with him. One could argue that Shaqiri's greater thirst for playing time will make him more likely to wear a different kit in the near future.
If Sammer's posture regarding Shaqiri is rigid enough and he remains in the Bundesliga for another season, Shaqiri's 2014/15 campaign will be more important from Bayern's side of the negotiating table. Pep Guardiola will have to make his role big enough that he will want to stay, or else Bayern risk another transfer debacle similar to that of Kroos.
Giving Shaqiri that playing time will still be tough, even if Guardiola makes an effort to do so. With their addition of Juan Bernat, Bayern now have 10 options to play the four flank positions, assuming that the Spanish gaffer sticks with a two flank system in his second year. That does not include Juan Cuadrado - who Bayern "supposedly deposited an offer" for, according to kicker - or Julian Green - who will probably start with the reserves this season.
If Shaqiri is part of the "future", Bayern need to establish that "future" soon. His "future" is not too far away, and he might want to reach his "future" elsewhere.