After months spent following the same targets with very little success, Manchester United have today been linked with a surprise move for Southampton’s Luke Shaw, as David Moyes appears to be increasingly willing to explore other avenues after facing the prospect of missing out on Leighton Baines.
United’s £28m joint bid for Marouane Fellaini and Baines was described as “derisory and insulting” by Everton, and the United manager has now set his sights on the 18-year-old Southampton left-back, according to today’s newspapers.
Shaw, who signed a five-year contract with Southampton this summer, impressed in his first season in the Premier League and is considered to be one of English football’s most exciting prospect, the latest in a series of talents forged by the Saints’ academy after the likes of Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and, ehm, Theo Walcott.
Shaw is thought to be worth around £10m, which would make him a cheaper option than Baines and a better long-term choice, considering that Shaw is 10 years younger than Baines, who will turn 29 this season, and the Southampton left-back would be the perfect understudy for Patrice Evra.
Despite being only 18, the young left-back has shown an understanding of the game normally associated with players much older and experienced than him, while his pace makes him a tricky customer for opponents to deal with as Shaw enjoys the offensive phase of the game as much as the defensive one.
The Saints, however, have shown great ambition in the transfer window and they do not seem in a position where they’d be forced to sell, but this deal could prove to be much easier for United, than the one through which they’re trying to secure the Everton duo.
United are expected to return to Everton with an improved bid, which will value Fellaini at £20m and Leighton Baines at £15m, but Everton remain angry at the way United conducted their business, particularly as it emerged that that United would not bid again for Baines when a second offer of £12m was rejected.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez is confident to hang on to the duo and has labelled United’s pursuit of the players “a waste of time”.
“It has been well documented what happened with the transfer speculation.
“That has been dealt with and it was all a little bit of a waste of time – time I don’t want players to waste. The start of the season was important for us, at Norwich, and I won’t come out now and carry on talking about the speculation,” Roberto Martinez told the Daily Express.
“The players have had the demands of international football and then they started the league season with a lot of travelling. So it has been important these past few days that we can get them recovered, regenerate them and get them ready for the next game.
While United’s interest is likely to appeal to both Baines and Fellaini, who saw a £23.5m release clause in his contract expire on July 31, the situation has reinforced Martinez’s view that the transfer window should close before the season starts.
“I don’t believe in getting involved in the transfer window when the games are under way and we are in an important moment of our season,” added the Everton boss, who has asked about a loan deal for Gareth Barry, Manchester City’s midfielder.
“We are trying to find our feet and have got a good start under our belts. But we have got real competition for places.”
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