Like a magician, Gianluca di Marzio is trying to pull a fast one on the transfer window. With Mehdi Benatia to Bayern Munich as his diversion, he has slipped Xherdan Shaqiri back into transfer scuttlebutt.
There are some developments involving Xherdan Shaqiri: the starlet targeted by many European clubs, in particular by the Italian ones. Juventus have been monitoring him attentively for a long time.
Di Marzio mentioned a transfer at first, but then revealed that Bayern could be open to a loan of the Switzerland international. Shaqiri reportedly rejected an offer to join Atlético Madrid to hold out for a Juventus offer, but if that is the case, something larger is at play.
Once he returned from his World Cup vacation, Shaqiri got a good long look in the preseason. He started three strait matches: the MLS All-Star Game, the DFL Supercup, and the DFB-Pokal. It appeared he was starting to get his own place in the squad after a summer of speculation.
"For me, I have a contract through 2016. I'll give my best when I am at Bayern," said Shaqiri at his autograph signing in New York. "The club believes in me and I believe in the club, so I will stay."
That all came before the return of Arjen Robben, the man who could be determining Shaqiri's future. Robben's return was to Bayern was like a father's return to his family after a business trip. He came back to support his Bayern family their first victory of the season, and Shaqiri's babysitting duties of the right flank appears to be over.
Thus the transfer rumor mill will crank back up, but the possibility of a loan opens up more Bayern-favorable options. His long-term future will remain unclear, but the short-term provides a win-win situation for both Shaqiri and Bayern.
With Thomas Müller's extension, he's due an even bigger boost in playing time, while Pep Guardiola will continue to find ways to put €37 million transfer Mario Götze in the starting XI. Shaqiri's role that he appeared to secure has now dwindled away once again, and he might be stuck in the same situation for a third year.
Black & White & Read All Over
Black & White & Read All Over
The one glimmer of hope for his place in the squad is at someone else's expense; as long as Franck Ribéry remains injured, he will remain one of the pure wingers that Guardiola can utilize. Ribéry is close to a return to the field, though, so that glimmer will snuff out, and Shaqiri will be without a light to guide him to the team sheet. With the window open only five more days, now might be his chance to move on.
His situation could be parallel to what Diego Contento's was before the Bayern product left for Girondins de Bordeaux. Instead of relinquishing their loyal 24-year-old, Bayern elected to hold half of Contento's rights, moving into the passenger seat rather than selling the whole car. Perhaps Bayern completed the deal to help Bordeaux with their finances, but they could also be holding on to Contento should he develop into a piece they could use in the future.
A loan for Shaqiri would be a different structure financially, but the same principles could apply. A club like Juventus would give him playing time, playing in front of Switzerland teammate Stephan Lichtsteiner and remaining in the Champions League. Bayern would also have the flexibility of brining him back, and they could ultimately reap the benefits of what projects to be a spectacular prime of Shaqiri's career.
With the speculation still in the early stage, this soliloquy could be for not. After all, the shifting of parts could mean that Bayern want to keep the only consistent parts they have, and Shaqiri is oddly one of them. Loaning purchases is not a practice that they usually utilize either. Jan Kirchhoff and Nils Petersen were acquired for little to no fee, and the recent players before were academy products.
The Shaqiri loan has no legs to stand on at the moment, but it is a posture that is an intriguing possibility.