The future of one of England's brightest young stars has been the subject of fierce rumours for months and reports emerging in The Guardian over the last week have suggested that Manchester United look set to close a £30 million deal for Southampton left-back Luke Shaw.
Chelsea were believed to be pursuing Southampton's most valuable asset and with Shaw being a boyhood Chelsea fan, it would be a huge coup for United if they were to get their man.
It has become obvious in recent years that Patrice Evra is no longer the world-class left-back he was when United won the Champions League in 2008, with the Frenchman too often caught out of position and lacking a final ball in attack to compensate.
Replacing Evra is imperative for United and signing Shaw would be the perfect start to a much needed rebuilding process.
Ryan Giggs' first press conference as United manager highlighted the importance of the 'United way' of playing football with pace on the flanks and aggressive quick passing. The 'United way' provided the platform for Giggs' sparkling career at the club, however, a look at United's squad over the past couple of seasons shows a lack of world-class wingers.
Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have been exposed as one-dimensional wide players with a combined four assists this season and the potential shown by Nani has been all too sporadic since his arrival at Old Trafford in 2007.
As such, the days of 4-4-2 under Sir Alex Ferguson have evolved into a 4-2-3-1 system with the likes of Shinji Kagawa, Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj competing for a place in the three behind either Robin van Persie or Danny Welbeck.
Although this group of players have undeniable ability, United have looked short of ideas going forward this season as David Moyes struggled to fit three natural no.10s into his system.
Mata and Kagawa have been employed on the right and left of the attacking three respectively, however, their natural instincts to create from the middle of the final third led to a congestion of central playmakers and a lack of width that teams have found easy to defend against.
Shaw's ability to make overlapping runs combined with his excellent delivery would allow United the freedom to play a more fluid front four whilst still ensuring that there is pace out wide.
Rafael would provide a similar threat from right-back, a position too often occupied by make-shift players such as Chris Smalling and Phil Jones. This system has proved hugely successful for Roberto Martinez's Everton side this season, with Seamus Coleman earning a spot in the PFA Team of The Year and Leighton Baines set to be England's first choice in Brazil.
Shaw would be an excellent signing for United who have always looked to nurture young English talent and would ensure that the infamous 'United way' of pace down the flanks could be prominent in a system including Kagawa, Mata and Wayne Rooney.
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