Shaw’s the real deal for United

Manchester United fans could be forgiven for thinking players signing for their club are like London buses – having waited ages for one to arrive, two come along at once.

However, while that might be cause of much annoyance in the capital, few United fans are likely to have been disappointed by the double swoop that took Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw at the end of last week.

While the signing of the former was somewhat surprising given how many midfielders United had been linked with since Louis Van Gaal’s appointment, the latter had been firmly on United’s radar and not even Southampton’s reluctance to sell prevented Shaw from moving to Old Trafford.

No sooner had the 18-year-old put pen to paper to his five-year deal that many questioned United’s wisdom in paying over £30m for a man still almost two weeks short of his 19th birthday and who’s never played international football.

While becoming the world’s most expensive teenager – taking the record off a certain Wayne Rooney’s hands – is likely to place huge pressure on Shaw’s shoulders, claiming United have wasted money on the England international is dangerously wide of the mark.

Granted, the fee is one sure to turn heads, particularly considering Shaw only made his Premier League debut two seasons ago but, as assistant manager Ryan Giggs made clear immediately after the 18-year-old was unveiled at Old Trafford, United’s purchase of Shaw falls into a long-term strategy.

As Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra show, modern full-backs remain competitive well into their decades and, bar serious injuries, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Shaw make the left-back spot at Old Trafford his own for the next 10 to 15 years.

With that in mind, even if Shaw was to leave United a decade from now, he’d have costed United barely over £3m a year in transfer fees, hardly a bad deal from a financial point of view not to mention that his value could well increase over the next few seasons.

From a mere footballing view, United simply did not have a viable alternative. Evra is widely appreciated by the fans for his commitment and devotion to the cause, but he’s been a defensive liability for a couple of seasons and with Leighton Baines extending his deal at Everton, United needed a left-back this summer.

Shaw enjoyed a remarkable season at Southampton and while it’s true he’ll have a whole new set of expectations and standards to live up to from August, United have a tradition for developing youngsters and ensure they live up to their potential.

Furthermore, in Louis Van Gaal, Luke Shaw will have one of the best tutors he could have hoped for and if the Dutchman will manage to make the most of the England international, then few will remember the price-tag that accompanied Shaw at Old Trafford.

In signing Shaw, United have not only got one of the brightest prospects in English football, they’ve also sent out a strong message to the competition, proving that last summer’s fiasco might well be behind them.

 

 

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