Stoke City manager Mark Hughes defended record signing Xherdan Shaqiri, saying the star attacker’s decision to join the club was “not about money”.
Shaqiri was criticised by former Germany international Stefan Effenberg, who slammed the 23-year-old for a “badly advised” move to Stoke that he said was about money.
Hughes rubbished those suggestions and said Shaqiri just wanted more playing time after stints at Bayern Munich and Inter.
“Of course financial considerations come into a deal, they always do, but we are hardly blowing our rivals out of the water with our financial might,” he said.
“We can pay the going rate when we need to, but this transfer is not about money, it’s about playing.
“Xherdan has been with two big European clubs but he hasn’t played as many games as he would have liked. That’s what we can promise him, and for a young player that is what is important.”
Shaqiri’s addition means Stoke now have the likes of Ibrahim Afellay, Marco van Ginkel, Bojan and Joselu in their squad.
Hughes said the Premier League club got a bit lucky and talked up what Shaqiri had already brought to his team.
“Sometimes circumstances have to fall for you and you need that little bit of luck. We probably had a similar situation with Bojan when he came. We were the right club at the right time,” he said.
“He [Shaqiri] looked really excited this morning and, as you’d expect when you bring in a player of his quality, almost everybody’s level went up at training.”