January Transfer Window: Should Manchester United Cash in on Ryan Shawcross?
Ryan Shawcross left Manchester United in 2008 for the pastures anew of the Britannia Stadium.
At the time, the transfer went through for £1million, however, since has risen to a sum nearer £2million thanks to his league appearances for the club.
While this price seems an absolute steal for a player who has become a cult hero at Stoke, Sir Alex Ferguson always seems to make himself a winner somehow.
Yes, Ferguson negotiated some sort of buy-back clause for Shawcross, meaning that United could gazump any other team that is interested in buying him.
Of course, there is much speculation across the Internet forums as to what the clause actually entails. The key argument is whether it is for an exact fee, or whether United get "first dibs" on the player should they offer the same as another club.
So why should Ferguson bring the 24-year-old back to Old Trafford? Well, Ferguson is looking to replace some of the older players in the squad with young and energetic players who can take the club forward.
With this in mind, you could look at Shawcross as a long-term replacement for Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic.
Shawcross seems to have been cut from the same cloth as Vidic. With both players standing above six-foot-two, they can both cause issues for attackers and defenders alike.
Like Vidic, Shawcross can be a very imposing threat when it comes to attacking set pieces. Shawcross' tackling and aerial threat mean that he could be the perfect replacement when the current United captain leaves the club.
Should Alex Ferguson consider bringing Ryan Shawcross back to Old Trafford?
Since joining Stoke, Shawcross has enjoyed the privilege of first team football on a weekly basis, and this has facilitated his development as a footballer.
Over the four years, Shawcross has not only made himself one of the most integral players at the Britannia, but also one of the most favoured names amongst the fans.
Since leaving United, Shawcross has become a fantastic EPL defender, but moving back to United could step him up another couple of gears.
Shawcross, along with Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney, could create a greatly talented spine for the United team, which would not only be great for United, but also for the national side.
The chemistry amongst the players would be unrivaled.
Even if Shawcross signed as a solid first team player, he could offer great backup to the centre halves.
Jonny Evans has come under a lot of criticism this season due to a couple of horror moments that have cost the team dearly.
The deepest knife in United fans' hearts will be his abysmal performance against Man City in the 6-1 derby defeat, in which his poor efforts were topped off with a red card for his troubles.
I'm sure the majority of United fans would happily watch Evans leave Old Trafford to see an enthusiastic player like Shawcross take his place.
Picking on Evans aside, United are in dire need of another defender to bolster their injury-ravaged squad.
While Ferguson is often prudent in the January transfer window, it may be time for him to make a couple of big endeavors into the market; otherwise, the United trophy cabinet could suffer.
Be it Shawcross, be it someone else, Ferguson really needs to think about strengthening his back line, and January offers him the perfect opportunity to do so.
Re-signing Shawcross could make great logical sense, but there are also other great options out there to be considered.
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