XHERDAN Shaqiri admitting he intends to leave Stoke City this summer will have piqued the interest of Saints boss Mark Hughes. 

Saints need strengthening in attack this summer and now one of Hughes' favourites from former club Stoke is potentially available.

Hughes is a big fan of Shaqiri, having always spoken highly of the Switzerland international while at the Potters, having signed him from Inter Milan for £12m in 2015.

The former Bayern Munich and FC Basel attacker has been linked with a move to St Mary’s since Hughes took over in March and yesterday revealed he wants to stay in the Premier League after getting relegated with Stoke last term. 

The 26-year-old said to Aargauer Zeitung: “It is no secret that I will leave the club.

“I think the (English) league is perfect for me.

“I would love to stay in England but I don’t want to rule anything out. It’s the best league with the best players.”

It remains to be seen if Saints will now make a move for the attacking midfielder, who scored eight and tallied seven assists in a struggling team last season in the Premier League, but there will be a clamour for his signature. 

Top-flight clubs will be on high alert after his admission. 

Saints may feel they will have a head-start in the race for his signature, considering his previous relationship with Hughes. 

Shaqiri is currently with Switzerland preparing for the World Cup in Russia last this month.  He was involved for the Swiss as they drew 1-1 with Spain on Sunday, playing the full game in Villarreal.

The Swiss face Japan on Friday in another friendly.