Luke Shaw's future at Southampton is in doubt, according to a report in the Telegraph by Jeremy Wilson and Jason Burt, creating an opportunity for Manchester United to acquire the promising young left-back.
The resignation of Saints' chairman Nicola Cortese in the last week has rocked the club and left a number of their top stars considering their futures.
Shaw is the club’s most sought-after player and, although the England Under-21 left-back had stressed previously that he wants to stay until at least the summer, his camp will now review the situation.
Following Cortese's resignation, Shaw tweeted his thanks to the Italian businessman:
Gutted with that news, but would just like to thank Nicola Cortese for everything he has done for me and the club! All the best to him!— Luke Shaw (@LukeShaw3) January 15, 2014
Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have all been linked with Shaw, per James Dickenson in the Express, and if he does not leave Southampton now, it may be that he is sold in the summer.
And even if Shaw decides he is happy to stay at St. Mary's, Southampton may opt to cash in on an asset that will command an eye-watering transfer fee from one of the country's top teams.
Shaw, 18, emerged as a hot prospect on the Saints' return to the Premier League in the 2012-13 campaign, starting 22 games, per ESPN FC. He has established himself as a key part of Mauricio Pochettino's fast-paced and exciting counter-attacking side this season, playing a further 19 times as Southampton have moved into the Premier League's top 10.
United have already earmarked Shaw as a potential replacement for Patrice Evra, who could leave Old Trafford in the summer, as reported by Jamie Jackson in the Guardian. After nine years of service, Evra, who has won five Premier League titles and the Champions League, will not be easy to replace. But Shaw, an England Under-21 international who is expected to make the step up to become a full international before too long, could be just the man to do that.
United have a rich reputation for developing young players and have the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Danny Welbeck and David de Gea in their squad already.
Shaw would be able to continue his progress as a player and offer the kind of continuity the club need while David Moyes attempts to put his stamp on the club after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson.
The chance for United to beat the likes of City and Chelsea to a player of Shaw's reputation would serve as a boost to Moyes and the United dressing room after the manager was frustrated in his attempts to sign players in the summer, per Graeme Yorke in the Daily Mail.