What next for Luke Shaw?
We look at the options open to the England cap
Having sat through some frustrating draws for his side of late, including three level finishes in their last four starts, Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho has finally run out of patience and swung the axe at his misfiring stars.
The first to be cut down to size is promising young left back Luke Shaw. The 21-year-old may be at one of the most famous clubs in world football, and a feature of the England side, but his career is going nowhere fast, according to the Special One, and he should know it. In fact, Jose thought we should all know it as he took to the media to give Shaw his character in a move that means one of them has to go – and the manager isn’t for budging.
Jose questions Shaw’s commitment
Speaking in Monday’s press conference for Tuesday’s match with Everton – which ended in an uninspiring 1-1 finish, with Ibrahimovic grabbing a stoppage time equaliser from the spot – Jose gave a scathing assessment of Shaw, calling his commitment to the club into question. Pulling no punches, the gaffer says Shaw fails to live up to his fellow team mates in terms of effort on the training pitch, focus or ambition.
Shaw – who arrived at the Theatre of Dreams for £27m in the summer of 2014 – being an England cap didn’t do much to impress his employer either, and when asked by one scribe if he would expect more from an England international than he is currently getting from Shaw, he answered blankly, reminding us that Joe Hart is a regular for his country, but finds himself cast out on loan in Italy.
What’s Shaw’s options in the summer?
Luke Shaw wouldn’t have been at all happy to hear his boss drag his name through the mud in front of the watching world, so he now has two choices – knuckle down, put right any areas he has been lacking in since returning from a double leg break, or accept that his time at the club is up, he can’t work with Mourinho, and move on in the summer.
I’d like to believe he’d go on and prove everyone wrong, but it looks increasingly likely that he will take the easy way out, and won’t be given much of an option either. Shaw has played only 15 times for United this season, and hasn’t been seen in competitive action since featuring against Bournemouth in early March, a game that ended in a draw, obviously.
So, what are the options open to the one time wonderkid? A step back to move forward could be the answer, and Southampton fans would certainly welcome him to St Mary’s. Shaw enjoyed the best part of his young career at The Saints, and would slip straight back into the squad nicely. It’s not the most ambitious move available to football’s most expensive teenager, but it would certainly help get his career back on track. Southampton are building an interesting team, and a few shrewd signings during the summer could see them kick-on.
The Chinese Super League. Why not, everyone else appears to be off there. The streets and pitches are paved with gold, it would appear. With big bucks on show, Shaw could cream off his talents and set himself up for life in the matter of two or three years. It would also give United half a chance of getting some of their money back. It would be a gamble though, and what Shaw made in wages, he’d lose in reputation, challenges and probably a chance to go to the next World Cup. Is Jose right, does the youngster lack ambition? We’ll see.
Could Chelsea forgive and forget? The Stamford Bridge lot boast the money to make a decent offer, and have a past interest in the player. They were battling for his signature back when he played for Southampton, and lost out only when Shaw picked United. Wrong move, with the benefit of hindsight. Would the Londoners give him a second bite of the cherry? His style of play would certainly fit in with Conte’s approach.