Stoke City have confirmed the capture of Inter Milan midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri in a club-record £12m ($18.6m) deal, just a matter of weeks after it appeared the player was set to turn down a move to the Potteries.
The Swiss international, who was believed to be on the verge of joining Stoke in July before the transfer collapsed due to reported reluctance on Shaqiri's part, watched from the stands on 9 August as Mark Hughes' side opened their 2015/16 Premier League account with a 1-0 defeat to Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium.
With his presence at the match having been picked up quickly by television cameras, Hughes revealed after the whistle that he was still hopeful of concluding an agreement for a player he also tried to sign during the previous transfer window.
Shaqiri passed a medical and agreed personal terms yesterday and has now been officially unveiled as a Stoke player after putting pen to paper on a contract until 2020. He is the fifth member of the Potters' squad to have previously won the Champions League, joining fellow summer signing Ibrahim Afellay as well as defender Marc Muniesa, forward Bojan and former Inter loanee Marko Arnautovic.
"He's a dynamic and explosive player who will bring something different to the group and at the age of 23 he still has a great deal of potential," Hughes told Stoke's official website. "In the chats I've had with him it's obvious that he's excited about playing in the Premier League and showing what he's capable of."
The 23 year old began his senior career with FC Basel and impressed with his performances at both domestic and European level before earning a switch to Bayern Munich in July 2012. He struggled to establish himself as a regular starter in Germany, however, and made just 52 Bundesliga appearances before opting to join Inter on a four-and-a-half year deal during the winter transfer window.
Liverpool were strongly linked with a potential move for Shaqiri prior to his decision to join Inter. Sky Sports reported in January that Brendan Rodgers was content for him to move to Serie A on loan before arriving at Anfield on a permanent basis at the end of the 2014/15 season.
The Reds do not appear to have rekindled their interest this summer, though, having already significantly strengthened their attacking options with the likes of Roberto Firmino, Danny Ings and Christian Benteke all drafted in to compensate for the loss of Raheem Sterling.
Shaqiri is the ninth player to be signed by Stoke in advance of September's transfer deadline and could make his debut for the club during their visit to Tottenham on 15 August.