Football

Manchester United must sign Shaw & forget Baines

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Premier League champions Manchester United must forget about Leighton Baines and sign Luke Shaw if the opportunity arises before the transfer window closes.

It was no surprise to see the Red Devils linked with the talented 18-year-old in this morning's papers, but it is mystifying why he was not United's first-choice defensive option this summer.

Judging by his remarkable first full season as a professional, Shaw is destined to become the standout left-back in the Premier League - and potentially Europe, too.

He appears to have everything required to become a world-class full-back: he's lightning quick, strong as an ox, always willing to get forward, defensive assured and positionally smart.

It's rare to see a 17-year-old perform as well as he did last term - and it quickly became obvious that the Southampton youth academy have produced another gem who could eventually follow in the footsteps of Gareth Bale.

Regardless of whether he was playing at St Mary's or Stamford Bridge, Shaw never looked overawed by the occasion, even though it would have been perfectly understandable had he shown some nerves.

And for a 17-year-old to display that invaluable fearlessness and maturity suggests he has what it takes to star for Manchester United for many years to come.

Of course, the Premier League champions have their work cut out to sign Shaw for several reasons.

First and foremost he only signed a new five-year deal with Southampton last month, which means he could potentially cost between £15-£20m to purchase, while it's no secret that Shaw is a Chelsea supporter.

But whether Shaw would turn down a big-money move to a club capable of challenging for domestic and European honours is another matter. After all, a move to Old Trafford would also almost certainly catapult him into contention for the England squad at next summer's World Cup finals in Brazil.

And if there is a realistic chance of signing Shaw, United should capitalise, and forget about signing Baines.

Yes, the Everton star is ready now, but he is a whole 10 years older than Shaw - and only four years younger than United's current left-back Patrice Evra - and would cost a similar amount of, or if not more, money.

In any case, Shaw has the potential to become a better left-back than Baines - and it might not take him that long to prove it.

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Topics:
Premier League
Football
Southampton
Luke Shaw
Manchester United

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