Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that he had attempted to bring Luke Shaw to Manchester United from Southampton when the player was aged 16, and is thankful the club have been able to eventually conclude a deal for the talented teenager.
Shaw was a summer acquisition for Louis van Gaal, arriving at the start of period in which the club spent an enormous £150 million on new recruits, and this move completed a rapid rise for the left-back.
He has just two full seasons of professional football under his belt, yet Shaw has already earned a place in the Premier League’s team of the season, been to a World Cup with England and completed a £30 mullion transfer. Not bad going for someone who only turned 19 in July.
But he could have moved to Old Trafford even earlier in his fledgling career had Southampton been willing to sanction the transfer during Ferguson’s illustrious reign, although this early approach paid off for Manchester United in the end.
"The signing of [Luke] Shaw was the one we tried to get when he was 16 years of age,” Ferguson told MUTV.
“They [Southampton] wouldn’t sell him to us but they always said we’d be first to know if they ever did.
“Of course, Ed Woodward carried that through and got him, I think for £30million. He’s a talented boy, a good footballer who likes to get forward all the time.”
Shaw was signed as a long-term successor to Manchester United stalwart Patrice Evra, who left in the summer for Juventus, although the England international has yet to completely establish himself in Van Gaal’s new look side.
Van Gaal had expressed concerns over Shaw’s fitness during Manchester United’s extensive pre-season tour of the USA, and the manager’s fears were confirmed when the player picked up a hamstring injury that delayed his competitive debut.
It was not until Manchester United faced West Ham on the last weekend of September that Shaw was finally afforded the opportunity to make his bow, and he completed the full 90 minutes as his club recorded a 2-1 victory.
Shaw limped out of the following encounter, a dramatic win over Everton, although was included in Gareth Southgate’s England under-21 squad and show no signs of injury fatigue in a late triumph over Croatia.