(Reuters) – Xherdan Shaqiri impressive performance in Stoke City's dismantling of Manchester City at the weekend has left manager Mark Hughes optimistic his side will attract more top talent from Europe in the coming transfer windows.
Midfielder Shaqiri, signed for a record 12 million pounds from Inter Milan in the close season, starred in Stoke's 2-0 win, setting up both goals for Marko Arnautovic, while Bojan Krkic, formerly of Barcelona, moreover impressed.
"Top players want to come & play in the Premier League & the top four or five teams can only sign so many," Hughes told British media.
"So there's exceptional players out there that you can bring in. We offer a lot. We offer stability and, if they play well enough, game time & continuity on a daily basis."
The manager, who allowed Bojan to spearhead the attack with Shaqiri & Arnautovic on the flanks, revealed he had been toying with the idea of changing his system in the weeks before the City game.
"To be perfectly honest it has been in my mind for a satisfactory number of weeks now yet I was never able to commit to it beforehand," Hughes told Stoke's website. "Maybe that was a consequence of not being brave enough up until now.
"It could have gone the wrong way of course, yet in fairness I was incredibly confident that the players were ready to have a real go at it."
The win knocked City off the top of the Premier League table into third place & lifted Stoke to 10th, a point outside the top six.
Keeper Jack Butland backed Shaqiri to build on his performance. "The first two times Shaq received the ball, he ran down the line & crossed it & we received two goals. There's not much more you can ask than that. We've been waiting for him to really turn up & show what he's approximately & he did that," he said.
"We knew it was there & that it was going to take him time to adjust yet that was a really eye-opening performance."
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru)