Manchester United is taking the summer transfer market by storm with back to back signings in the form of Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera for £29m and Southampton defender Luke Shaw for an initial fee estimated to be worth £27m. Of the two high profile signings, England’s second choice full back, Luke Shaw stands out. With the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic gone, the defense seems to be in shambles with little experience and proper positional players unavailable, until now. With 4 years on his contract, with a extendable one year option, Shaw might just pull through and bring back the glory days of United and subsequently put his career on the right path.
The race for the gifted left back started back in 2012-13, where his presence in the starting XI for Southampton suddenly impressed Arsenal and Chelsea. Both clubs looked to sign the talented youth prospect and convert him into the next best thing English football has yet to see. But allegiance to his club continued as he signed a 5 year contract with the Hampshire club. His loyalty to the Saints was admirable as the club relentless rubbished that Shaw wouldn’t leave for any transfer bid. Arsenal and Chelsea’s initial bids were rejected in accordance to his long term contract.
After an impressive season at Southampton, it was clear that International football was the next thing on the to-do list. Being selected for the 23-man World Cup squad at such a young age put him in the spotlight long enough for him to realize it was time to move on to a big club. David Moyes’ failed attempts to sign Shaw (who was his back up signing if Baines had not joined) were thrown out the window as he put pen to paper and ultimately became a Red Devil as of today.
Describing Luke Shaw as a similar Southampton youth product, Gareth Bale is all-in-all justified. Bale, who originally played as a left back transformed well and can now play the entire left wing and run at stunning speeds to keep up with the pace of the game. Shaw also, has an attacking style to his game, playing up front and at the same time can track back and control the defense. With Evra still in contention, we might see Evra play up front, leaving his original left back position or might be rotated with Luke Shaw which might seem to be the right way to go.
Interestingly, Paul Scholes has voiced his concern over the transfer proceedings for Luke Shaw. He states that – ‘Clubs are priced out of this market which is why they go abroad for cheap options – they’re not better players’ and also – ‘For a left-back to be worth £34m shows how silly the game has gone. For that money I want a center-forward who’s going to score 30 goals a season.’
Paying high amounts for a young player, especially a defender just goes to show how clubs are now handling these matters. With Robin van Persie, Eden Hazard, Aguero and others in the front row of the Premier League stand up, England’s home grown players are easy going and the money rushes to the head fast, pushing the talent they have, out.
Tactically, as it stands, Rafael will be the first choice right back and Evra and Shaw will be rotated regularly in the left back position. Phil Jones will play in the center back position which clearly is his sweet spot. Now Evans and Smalling are still in the developing stage and should be considered substitutes or if possible, one of them being loaned to an Italian or Spanish club in search of a defender. In recent news, Bayern Munich and German player Matt Hummels has expressed his interest in joining the 20 time champions, but to the dismay of fans, not the season around apparently.