Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and now Southampton have done it again. The latest left footed dynamo to come out of St Mary’s is 17 year old Luke Shaw. According to the Mirror both Arsenal and Chelsea are after the man being lazily called ‘The next Gareth Bale’.
I say lazy because they’ve only done this because he plays at left back and is quite fast. He doesn’t take free kicks, his passing needs work and he isn’t Welsh so lets just call him Luke Shaw.
Anyway, as with any young and English player with any kind of potential the big clubs want to get him while he’s young in order to avoid paying above the odds when he gets older and begins to realise his potential. But unlike in the past Southampton are now a Premiership team and will be less inclined to let Shaw go for a big bag of money left at the club’s training ground.
Nigel Adkins has repeatedly said he isn’t for sale and the youngster has signed a 3 year contract in preparation for when he turns 18 when the Saints are preparing to give him his professional contract. Either way, Shaw’s next destination depends heavily on his current clubs survival in the top tier of English football.
Shaw’s recent displays and run in the first team have been coupled by an upturn in Southampton’s defensive displays. It is not coincidence that as soon as he started to play regularly Southampton have lost only once in six and conceded only three goals against teams such as Liverpool, Newcastle and an improving Norwich City. He was even awarded man of the match, according to whoscored.com, in their 1-0 win over Reading last weekend.
What sets him apart from the previous graduates of the Southampton academy is his defensive ability. He is excellent in the air and has managed an average 3.3 successful tackles per game this season.
Due to the lack of quality left backs at the moment the big clubs are going to look at the youngsters coming through the ranks and with rumours about Ashley Cole on his way out of Chelsea, they will be looking for someone to fill the void left by a controversial but outstanding player.
Luke Shaw has the potential to grow into that void. Hopefully someone will be around to stop his eyes from glowing green and becoming shaped like a pound sign so he realises that at Chelsea, unless you’re John Terry, you aren’t treated like a human. Just ask Florent Malouda, Glen Johnson or Scott Parker.
Another team lurking around the sales for a left back is Manchester United. Patrice Evra has been a fine servant but with PSG on the horizon offering one final bumper pay day, Fergie will be anxious to bring in a long term replacement. Leighton Baines has often been talked of as the next man to enter the Theatre of Dreams but Everton’s reluctance to sell on the cheap will make Shaw are more promising prospect.
Unable to offer the same astronomical wages as Chelsea but have a better history in developing players, United look like an excellent fit for Shaw.
I can’t see Shaw leaving as long as Southampton are in the Premiership and if he left this January it would be as nutty a deal as someone signing Mario Balotelli’s new born daughter. Like so many before him Shaw will leave the team that has made him the player he is today and anyone that thinks otherwise is naive and if you’re offended by my calling you out don’t be, I’m just jealous you still think football has a soul.
With Chelsea and Manchester United in the market for a new left back, Saints fans should enjoy Luke Shaw while they can before the inevitable big money transfer occurs.