Luke Shaw has the potential to be one of the world’s best left-backs, and he is still just 18 years old. That is reason enough for Manchester United to make a move for him, per Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph.
Not even a rumoured £27 million fee detracts from what would be a real coup for United.
Shaw is very much a raw talent and he still has plenty to learn, but there’s no doubt that few young players in world football combine such technical prowess with athletic ability. Usually it's one or the other. All season long Shaw has been a constant outlet on the left-hand side of a vibrant Southampton team, using his pace and positional awareness to get back and defend.
Unsurprisingly, his performances have attracted a number of suitors, so it’s wise that United have acted quickly by making him their No. 1 target.
Shaw Is the Ideal Replacement for Patrice Evra
Shaw, a fantastic left-back in his own right, is wanted by United as a long-term replacement for Evra.
The Frenchman has been an outstanding servant for United, overcoming a shaky start to become one of the finest left-backs of his generation. Evra, at his peak, galloped up and down the left wing, clipped in dangerous crosses all game and still had the raw speed to prevent the counter-attack.
That is exactly what United want in Evra’s replacement, and it’s exactly what they’d be getting in Shaw.
And when you put the £27 million fee into context and consider that Shaw has 10-15 years of his career ahead of him, United would certainly be getting value over time.
Any argument suggesting United are overpaying is therefore redundant.
Sure, there are a number of cheaper options, such as VfL Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez or Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao, but Shaw will end up at one of the bigger Premier League clubs sooner rather than later. By signing Shaw, United would simultaneously strengthen their own squad and prevent their rivals from landing a quality player.
Now Is the Right Time for Shaw to Make the Step Up
Very few 18-year-olds would be ready to join a top Premier League and hit the ground running, but Shaw is probably one of the exceptions.
And with United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League, it’s the perfect time for Shaw to make the move, since he wouldn’t be overwhelmed by playing twice a week.
Undoubtedly, there will be a strong contingent of football fans questioning whether Shaw has the experience and maturity to make the switch at such an early stage of his career, but those who have watched Southampton over the last 18 months will know differently.
Shaw has shown remarkable composure in his 35 appearances for Southampton this season, and he has been trusted by Mauricio Pochettino throughout the campaign. Shaw has repaid his manager’s faith and was rewarded with his first England cap in March of this year.
It’s been a fantastic season for Shaw, and joining United this summer would be an appropriate measure of how quickly he’s developed.
Louis van Gaal, set to take over at United in the coming days, is renowned for squeezing the very best out of young players, and it would be fitting if Shaw was the first to arrive in this new era for United.
Shaw Is Set to Have a Bright Future
Having excelled in 2013/14, there will be pressure on Shaw to replicate his form on a season-by-season basis. Overcoming that pressure and fulfilling his obvious potential will dictate what kind of player he becomes.
So it makes sense for United to capitalise on his promising season and integrate him into a new, restructured team.
Hand him a starting role at left-back, mentor him and trust him in the big games, because it’s quite clear that Shaw has all the attributes to succeed. He might make the odd mistake or rash challenge, but that’s to be expected.
For United it’s a question of weighing up risk against reward, and Shaw has certainly shown that he is worth the gamble. He will have a bright future regardless of whether he joins United or not, but now seems the right time for him to make the switch to Old Trafford.