English Premiership

Shaqiri to make his debut

2015-08-21 10:58
Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke website)

London - Stoke City's club record signing Xherdan Shaqiri is ready to make his Premier League debut against Norwich City on Saturday, says manager Mark Hughes.

The Switzerland international, who was part of the Bayern Munich squad that won the Champions League in 2013-14, signed a five-term deal at the Britannia Stadium after joining from Inter Milan for a club record £12 million.

Shaqiri could not make his debut against Tottenham Hotspur in the 2-2 draw last weekend as he had a domestic ban from his time in Italy, but Hughes said the 23-year-old was raring to go against Norwich.

"He has been very good in training. He is more integrated into the group now and he is aware of what we are trying to do," Hughes told a news conference.

"With every signing there is always an element of risk to it and this one is no different.

"He is our record signing and we feel we have brought in a player of real top quality. He can be a really big player for us this season."

Hughes has assembled a squad capable of playing a more expansive style, with the likes of Shaqiri and former Barcelona pair Bojan Krkic and Dutch international winger Ibrahim Afellay adding pace and power to the Stoke attack.

"I think people are excited and enthused about what we could possibly offer when we have everybody fit and available," he said.

"We need to get the balance correct though, and get the combinations right."

Stoke travel to Norwich, who beat struggling Sunderland 3-1 last weekend, and Hughes is expecting a stern test from the newly promoted side.

"They have a lot of experience, and their squad isn't too different from what it was last time they were involved in the Premier League," Hughes said.

"Maybe that will benefit them because they haven't made wholesale changes like other newly promoted sides have."


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