Chelsea could have signed Luke Shaw for free

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Chelsea rejected the chance to sign Luke Shaw for free when he was just eight years old, reports the Daily Mirror.

Shaw is in line to start at against Chelsea today as Southampton visit Stamford Bridge in the Premier League this afternoon.

But it could have so different.

Southampton's star left-back was invited to take part in Chelsea's development programme at their academy in Guildford as an eight year old, but was never offered a place in the youth team.

10 years later, Jose Mourinho is fighting tooth and nail to convince the 18-year-old to move to Stamford Bridge ahead of rivals Tottenham.

The Saints have already rejected a £10m bid from the west London club with executive chairman Nicola Cortese valuing the young left-back three times higher at £30m.

The Mirror reports that Chelsea and Arsenal deemed Shaw, who grew up a fan of the Blues, to be too small. He is now standing at an impressive 6ft 1in.

Southampton made their move shortly after Chelsea's rejection when scout Phil Spreadbury spotted Shaw playing in a junior tournament in Basingstoke.

“I liked Luke as soon as I saw him,” Spreadbury is quoted as saying. “He was small, but strong and he was technically good.

“There were a lot of scouts at the tournament, including Chelsea but, as far as I know, nobody else talked to him. Chelsea had already decided not to offer him a place in their academy.

“Luke was a Chelsea fan, but I just told him and his father Paul that Southampton was a small family club, where he would get a better chance of breaking through. I told him about lads we had like Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott.

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