Leighton Baines has been in blistering form this season, scoring two goals from brilliant free-kicks and providing a constant attacking and creative threat down the left-wing. As well as his attacking capabilities, Baines' defensive nous sets him up as one of the best left-backs in the world.
With Manchester United desperately in need of new, world-class players to bolster their flailing squad, many fans and pundits have pointed towards Baines as being the perfect replacement. United's manager, David Moyes - as former manager of Everton - knows just what the player can do. Attempts to acquire his services proves futile in the summer and the Moyes is understood to have granted the funds he needs in January to have another go at capturing Baines and others.
However, with Baines turning 29 in December, the Liverpudlian would only provide a relatively short-term answer to the left-back position. Patrice Evra's age (32) is the main reason that a a replacement is being sought. Consequently, it seems strange to acquire a player who is swiftly approaching his third decade.
If Baines were to be acquired, the defender may be past his best in three years of less. The Red Devils would then be forced to delve back into the inflated transfer market to look for another, younger left-back. By then, targets that could be acquired now would have already moved on to bigger clubs. Luke Shaw at Southampton is the perfect example. The young player is regarded as one of the best left-backs in the Premier League.
Granted, if United were to buy him in January, he would be expensive. However, he would be far more expensive if in two years time he moves on to a big club such as Chelsea or any other of the top teams. The prospect of Shaw moving on is highly likely, given his form for Southampton and reputation that he has built up since he burst onto the scene last season.
The only issue with buying such a young player - Shaw is only 18 - is that he may not turn out to be as good some have said he will be. As with so many young prospects in today's game, they allow the sniff of wealth and fame to get to their heads. If that happens with Shaw, he could disappear as quickly as he appeared.
Whatever happens with Luke Shaw, David Moyes needs to think seriously about the players that he tries to acquire in January. It may be too late come next summer.
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