Daniel Levy's Imaginary Shortlist: Luke Shaw

Bryn Lennon

With the talk today on Benoit Assou-Ekotto's future with Tottenham Hotspur, it seems like a good time to discuss possible replacements. Luke Shaw could be the top choice.

While we haven't heard any serious rumors linking the two, Luke Shaw is one of the best choices to replace Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

The Basics

Name: Luke Paul Hoare Shaw

Age: 17, 18 in one month.

Team: Southampton

League: English Premier League

Position: Left Back

Can Also Play: Maybe like a former Southampton player, his future is up the pitch

The Specifics

Luke Shaw has been looked at as the next great English left back, continuing a line of players including Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines. Only 17 and with only one full season of play, one would think there isn't much to talk about regarding Luke Shaw. That would be incorrect, as Luke Shaw has been a big name in regards to the future of English football for a while now.

Luke Shaw is a product of the Southampton Academy, entering at age eight. As he produced quality play for the Southampton youth team, the media began to label him 'the new Gareth Bale.' Before playing a senior game he already began to attract attention from Manchester City, Arsenal, and Chelsea. Manager Nigel Adkins vowed that Luke Shaw would not leave Southampton before playing for the team in the Premier League.

And indeed that would prove to be true. After featuring in only one match in the 2011-12 season, Shaw was promoted to the first team for the past Premier League season, debuting at left back for Southampton in November and making 25 league appearances on the season. At the tender age of 17, Shaw acquitted himself well, becoming a fixture at the position for Southampton and continuing to generate rave reviews of his play.

Shaw has been a fixture in the English youth system for the past three years, making 14 appearances at the U-16 and U-17 level. That also includes two goals. Sir Trevor Brooking has described Shaw as very technically gifted, and indeed the 17 year old has shown the ability to influence play from the left wing.

Highlights

The Verdict

Likely Price: £4.5m

Probability That Valuation is Wrong: 100%. Shaw will only be 18 this upcoming season, but already has 25 EPL games, at a position where quality is rare, and to top it off he's English. Southampton avoided the drop, and getting rid of Luke Shaw would be a signal that the club plans to go down again unless they reinvested quickly. I can't see Shaw going for less than 10 million, especially because if he moves this summer, any English club that gets him will gain Homegrown at Club status with the player.

Teams Willingness to Sell: Low. Very low. Shaw is the face of Southampton, the only player remaining from an academy era that brought Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He's very likely a future English international, and he can only get better and drive his price up. This past January he pledged his future to the club, and while ultimately that means nothing, it's still something.

Fit at Tottenham Hotspur: He is the ideal guy for Andre's plans with the 4-3-3. At left back, Shaw is very comfortable pushing up the field and overlapping with the attack, providing service from the wing and allowing the left forward to go inside for goal. He has the physical capability to play the high line, and the defensive aptitude to perform well. Not to mention, it's not entirely unthinkable that he could "replace" Gareth Bale, considering his technical skills. Banking on a position change like what Bale had is never the best idea, and besides, Shaw has already acquitted himself as an EPL left back when Bale never really could.

Possibility He Ends Up At Spurs: I'm going to say low. Every top club is after the kid, his price will be high for Daniel Levy's taste, and worst of all, he grew up as a Chelsea fan.

Grade If This Transfer Goes Through: At a ceiling of 10 million, it's an A in my book. Going above that it won't seem like the most prudent investment, especially as the purchase of Shaw would mean that Rose is 99% gone, which means having to buy more cover. Regardless, Shaw is a very good player, with a lot of potential, and has a full season of top flight experience.

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