Southampton’s left-back Luke Shaw could be David Moyes’ first signing of the summer, with reports suggesting that United are confident to clinch a deal, thought to be worth around £30m, for the 18-year-old England international.
Shaw has been hugely impressive for Southampton this season, winning his first England cap and forcing himself into contention for a place in the World Cup squad, all while emerging as one of the brightest talents in English football and attracting interest from a host of big clubs.
With United’s defence in desperate need of a major revamp after Nemanja Vidic has already agreed to join Inter Milan, while Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand are also expected to depart, Shaw would represent a major coup for United, particularly if they managed to beat Chelsea in the race for the 18-year-old’s services.
Shaw is a boyhood Chelsea fan and has never denied that he’d be delighted to move to South West London, while Chelsea have more than once made clear that they see the Southampton’s left-back as the long-term replacement for Ashley Cole and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Both players could theoretically give United the edge in the race to Shaw, claims the Telegraph, given that the 18-year-old would not be guaranteed first team football were he to choose Stamford Bridge as his preferred destination. United, on the other hand, risk to be left with Alexander Buttner as their only left-back if Evra is indeed allowed to go in the summer and Shaw would be pretty much guaranteed a spot in the starting XI.
Ed Woodward seems determined to clinch at least one deal before the World Cup kicks off in June, a strategy that sounds strangely intelligent by United’s standards, given that some players could see their price rocket through the roof, should they impress in Brazil.
Interestingly enough, there are suggestions that Woodward is determined to do business regardless of Moyes, rather than because of him, which won’t do an awful lot to placate the rumours that want the United manager’s future under massive scrutiny.
Signing Shaw and possibly another player before the World Cup would indeed be a major statement of intent from United, but one can’t help thinking that any excitement generated by the arrival of new players would almost immediately be quashed by the notion that Moyes would likely struggle to get the best of out of them, much as he has done with Juan Mata so far.