The conditions are perfect for Jose Mourinho to sign Luke Shaw this January.
Billed as a £30 million star of the future, Southampton's young left-back appears to be attracting the attention of the Premier League's top clubs.
Southampton have remained adamant they have no intention of selling Shaw or any other top player, despite the departure of chairman Nicola Cortese.
But it looks as though Chelsea are ready to test their resolve, with reports suggesting the Blues are ready to make a £30m bid, in an attempt to beat the likes of Manchester City to the youngster’s signature.
Southampton may be "adamant" the starlet is staying, but as we've seen so many times, a concrete bid can change that mindset in a second.
Mourinho rarely misses out on his targets—forgetting a certain Wayne Rooney—and now is the right time to pluck Shaw away from St. Mary's.
Firstly, Mourinho must look at his defensive options at the club. Ashley Cole, despite appearing to have done very little wrong, has lost his place in the starting lineup to Cesar Azpilicueta—who isn't a natural left-back.
At 33 years old, Cole's time is limited, at best. Azpilicueta offers a steady replacement and is reliable at carrying out his defensive duties, but Mourinho needs a player with greater attacking impetus and a left foot capable of providing natural width.
Azpilicueta has been excellent defensively and has not put a foot wrong, but he is better suited to the right flank, where he has spent the majority of his career.
Picking up Shaw now would allow the Blues boss to integrate him into the squad without a great deal of pressure this term, with the knowledge that he can hit the ground running for Chelsea next season.
Mourinho has the options to deploy full-backs with greater experience if need be, but Shaw's confidence and willingness to bomb forward already looks as if it would aid the West London club's attack.
With his squad weighed up, Mourinho must also take into consideration the turmoil at Southampton. Colin Young of the Daily Mail Online suggests Mauricio Pochettino is set to meet owner Katharina Liebherr for a "showdown meeting" after the departure of Nicola Cortese.
While this may eventually determine the future of the manager, it could also dictate Shaw's whereabouts, as hinted at by Kevin Palmer of Ireland's Sunday World:
Liebherr's family has invested around £75 million on players across the past five years, per Owen Gibson and Philip Oltermann of The Guardian, highlighting just how significant a £30 million fee could be for Shaw.
It's difficult to think Liebherr would turn down the opportunity to reclaim almost half of what has been spent, but there's no doubt this fee would increase if a handful of elite clubs became serious about acquiring Shaw.
This is another reason why Mourinho must act now.
With Shaw's performances continuing to impress, Mourinho cannot afford to wait until the summer to tempt the player. Manchester City and Manchester United are also rumoured to be interested, per Danny Griffiths of Metro, so it would be wise to wrap up a deal before rivals have the chance to spend.
Shaw is a Chelsea supporter, as reported by Neil Fissler of The Express. That boyhood drive ensures he will give everything for the club he has grown up with, and indeed, it suggests he could commit his long-term future to the Stamford Bridge outfit.
Chelsea's defence has been built on consistency across the years—with Petr Cech, John Terry and Cole propping up the club across many successes—and if Mourinho acts now, Shaw can do the same.
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