In their search for Ashley Cole's successor, Chelsea are eyeing up a number of Europe's most highly rated left-backs with the intention of adding to their list of summer acquisitions.
According to the Daily Mail's Simon Jones, the Blues are ready to meet the £20 million release clause of Atletico Madrid's Filipe Luis, but persevering with the hunt of Southampton's Luke Shaw would be a far more sensible ploy.
Although his contract at Stamford Bridge isn't officially at its end just yet, Cole tweeted in May to say that he wouldn't be remaining at the West London outfit next season:
I am weighing up my options for playing next season with my agent and sadly it does not look like chelsea will be one of them. 💙💙💙💙— Ashley Cole (@TheRealAC3) May 19, 2014
It brings an end to one era for Chelsea, and if their interests lie in unearthing another legacy of similar standards and perhaps even greater length, Shaw must be their priority.
Sky Sport Italia's Fabrizio Romano says that Luis' move to the English capital is as good as done:
Chelsea-Filipe Luis, agreement with the player too. And €25M to Atlético Madrid to finalize everything. Deal ready to be done. #CFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 17, 2014
One of the most prevalent factors in any discussion of longevity and value for money is, of course, age. And when 28-year-old Luis is matched alongside teenage Shaw, who is a decade younger, the maths couldn't be simpler.
It's not as though Shaw wouldn't offer his own share of immediate impact. The argument would stand that by investing in Atleti's star, Chelsea would be getting an instant-impact signing, but WhoScored.com shows that Shaw is no shrinking violet in these terms:
Luke Shaw: Attempted at least 41 more crosses (141) than any other teenager in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season (excl. corners) #eng— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 14, 2014
There's also the benefit that Shaw would fill Cole's boots in the Premier League's eight-man homegrown quota ruling, not to mention the fact that he'd be fighting for the cause of a club he has supported since childhood.
Who would make the better summer signing?
Jose Mourinho evidently isn't taking his trophyless 2013-14 campaign lightly, having already concluded a deal for Cesc Fabregas and bringing Diego Costa within inches of a switch.
However, while few can doubt the quality of those La Liga purchases, this is one instance in which Shaw represents the future. Granted, he may take his time in acclimating to the Premier League hierarchy, but there's no guarantee that Luis would cope so brilliantly after switching borders.
Should Mourinho miss out on Shaw now, he risks waving goodbye to the prospect of landing him for good, with Metro reporting that Manchester United have already offered £27 million and a £160,000-a-week contract for his services.
Cole will be a missed Chelsea figure on the pitch regardless of who it is that replaces him, but it's here that the club have a real opportunity to plan for not just the present but also for the future.