If we’re talking English prodigies, there’s no young home-grown talent in more demand right now than Southampton’s Luke Shaw.
The energetic full-back rose to first team ascension at St. Mary’s last season. And despite making just a single senior outing for the Saints previously – a 15 minute stint in the FA Cup – the then 17 year-old lodged 25 Premier League appearances for the 2012/13 campaign and never looked out of his depth.
Now a year older and wiser, the England U21 has solidified his place as the South Coast outfit’s resident No.3, starting in all but three of their league fixtures so far this term, as part of a Southampton backline that dons the fourth best defensive record in the division.
More than just a solid defender however, Shaw represents the modern trend of full-back, donning attacking prowess and immense pace, with the stamina to effect both ends of the pitch for a full ninety minutes.
Many have compared the young Englishman to fellow Saints academy product Gareth Bale in style. A transition into a more attacking role in his later career seems unlikely, but nonetheless, it’s a fantastic testament to Shaw’s technical mastery and unbelievable athleticism.
Every club in the Premier League wants to get in on the Shaw action, especially Manchester United and Chelsea who both view the Junior Lion as the ideal successor to Patrice Evra and Ashley Cole respectively.
With that in mind, it will undoubtedly take a big fee to lure the 18 year-old away from St. Mary’s – he’s also rebuffed several tabloid enquiries about leaving this January, so getting him to sign on the dotted line will be no easy task either.
According to the Telegraph’s Jeremy Wilson, it would take an offer of well over £20million to convince Mauricio Pochettino’s side to sell. But considering the unbelievable progress Shaw has made in his last 18 months in the top flight, that could well be a very reasonable investment for the Red Devils.