Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has claimed Xherdan Shaqiri's move to Liverpool could prove to be one of the wisest pieces of transfer business this summer.
The Switzerland international has hinted at his potential importance for the coming campaign with Liverpool in an impressive pre-season, after signing from Stoke City.
The pint-sized dynamo arrived for what looks to be a bargain fee of £13m, and has since raised eyebrows with an encouraging audition as an asset in both wider and central attacking positions.
An audacious and stunning overhead kick against Manchester United in the International Champions Cup has been the pick of his contributions so far, not to mention a perfectly-weighted cross to assist Daniel Sturridge against Torino.
Merson told Sky Sports: “Xherdan Shaqiri could be one of the signings of the window, he could be worth £35m now and the season hasn’t even started. This team will close the gap.
"He [Klopp] needed a couple of midfielders, a player who can come in if one of the front three get injured and play with guile because that’s their problem – breaking teams down. Clubs go there and put 10 behind the ball and you need to break them down and Shaqiri has got that in the locker.”
Liverpool failed to sign and replace Phil Coutinho after he left for Barcelona last season, but the 26-year-old has now carved out an opening for himself to play a key role this season.
Shaqiri now serves as much-needed strength in depth in wider areas, with an array of scoring methods and his invention capabilities allow him to slot in for the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane when necessary.
His tendency to cut inside from both wings means he can operate very well in central areas and also means he is able to help fill the club’s playmaking void as a feeder to the runs of the Reds’ front three.
Using him as a central playmaker could prove to be a valuable ploy in drawing defenders out of position as a means of finding a way through compact defences.
It is possible that Shaqiri will not be a regular starter, but he will be another source of flexibility for Klopp to make good use of in tight games.