Ahead of Stoke’s arrival at the Emirates this weekend, Stephane Henchoz has accused Xherdan Shaqiri of joining the club for money.
Shaqiri signed a five-year deal with the Potters in a move that cost the club £12m to prise him away from Inter Milan raising a lot of eyebrows, not for the fee but for the fact that he chose to join them at all.
Just 23, the Swiss midfielder has already played for Bayern Munich as well as the Italian giants and a move to Stoke is hardly something you expect from a player in that sort of bracket with Henchoz not the only one questioning the player’s motivations.
“(English) clubs have a tremendous amount of money, and that will be even more pronounced from the 2016-17 season,” Hencho told Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger.
“Why else would Xherdan Shaqiri sign a five-year contract with Stoke?
“He is certainly not there because Stoke have big ambitions to reach the Champions League, which will never be the case. It is only because of the money at Stoke.
“I find it incomprehensible. He’s at Stoke because he can get money there he can get nowhere else. That’s all.”
In August, Stefan Effenberg also questioned the move when he said “I do not understand Shaqiri’s move to Stoke at all. You have been badly advised if you go there.
“This is a shame and a sad state of affairs. Only because they are throwing around cash? Is it really all about money for footballers these days?”
Shaqiri, however, dismissed those comments by Effenberg and is unlikely to be phased by the more recent statement from his compatriot.
“He has no job at the moment, so he can talk – he’s a free man,” Shaqiri said at his unveiling.
“Anybody can talk who is free. But I don’t want to comment on this.
“I will concentrate on my job – I’m happy to be here and I can’t wait to play. This is my job.”
Stoke arrive in London on Saturday for the 3pm kickoff with the Gunners looking to get their home form back on track. Although Stoke have far from the best record in the capital, the Gunners have struggled in front of their own fans and the game looks set to be a tough affair for Arsenal.
Given the anger felt by many at the close of the transfer window and the club’s failure to purchase any additions apart from Petr Cech, anything other than a win will see the temperature of fans rise further.
With Shaqiri in the side, Stoke bring with them a different threat than we normally expect from them, however with Mathieu Debuchy’s shoulder injury still fresh in the mind, their physical threat is always one Arsenal need to be wary off, especially with Jon Moss in charge.