When it was announced that Xherdan Shaqiri would be the Fire’s newest DP in February of 2022, it seemed like an excellent signing. Who doesn’t want a guy that is a 2x Champions League winner, Bundesliga and PL winner, legend for the Swiss national team, and is known for scoring absolute bangers and sending perfect passes? 

Xherdan Shaqiri made history at Euro 2024 with a goal only he could have  scored - The Athletic

 

Unfortunately, the Fire did not see that version of Shaqiri. What the Fire did get was a completely different player. It wasn’t uncommon to see Shaqiri walking around the pitch for 90 minutes, defensive effort nowhere to be seen. His famous bangers were almost non-existent as well, in his time with the Fire he actually struggled to score if it wasn’t a penalty. Besides the occasional great pass, Shaqiri’s lack of effort and care often handicapped Chicago’s offense and made them more predictable and one dimensional. As mentioned before, he didn’t provide anything on the defensive side of things either. 

A Look at the Stats

In total, according to Transfermarkt, he played 75 games and logged in 5,502 minutes. He scored 16 goals and 13 assists, adding up for a total of 29 G/A. Those numbers correlate to 190 minutes per goal contribution, which actually is not a terrible ratio, so to call him useless is harsh and a lie. One could say his stats are skewed since he took almost every penalty for the Fire since he joined, but being consistently good at PKs and putting them in the back of the net is a skill and should not be looked at as a stat pad, so one should not bat an eye at his 16 goals. The thing is, it’s just not good enough though to justify his lack of defensive ability, disrupting team chemistry, and his salary.

This season so far, he’s only played 12 games. In those 12 games he has logged in 745 minutes, has scored two penalties, and bagged himself an assist. Not having an open play goal and also only having one assist while we are halfway into the season is not a good look at all.  

 

What Shaqiri Leaving Means for the Financial Side of Things

The most lucrative part of the idea of Shaqiri leaving is the fact that the Fire won’t have to worry about his massive salary anymore. The Fire have the third-highest payroll in the whole of MLS, sitting at about $23M a year. If anything that’s a good thing, because cheap owners in major league sports are the worst. But what makes the $23M figure sour is the fact that Shaqiri takes up ⅓ of it. His salary is a whopping $8.1M a year, which made him the highest paid MLS player at one point last season, before Messi signed and Insigne took him over.

That money that will be freed up for the Fire once Shaqiri leaves can be used to tremendously improve the team. You can replace him with a quality DP and useful role players, and even then it’ll probably turn out cheaper salary-wise than having Shaqiri. 

Xherdan Shaqiri “day-to-day” ahead of Chicago Fire's visit to Orlando City  - Hot Time In Old Town

When is Shaqiri Out?

This isn’t exactly known yet, but there’s really only two options. One being the MLS allowing them to buy out Shaqiri, clearing his name from the roster while doing so. The other option being just simply letting the contract run out, and see if Klopas can find a way to squeeze out any productivity out of him.

Most likely, the Fire will just be having Xherdan coming off the bench for the remainder of the season, as most analysts and fans would agree that the offense has been better off without him.

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