Three and a half years ago, 19-year-old Luke Shaw became world footall’s most expensive teenager when Manchester United paid £28m to acquire his services — and that’s 2014-money, not 2017’s new reality — beating out Chelsea first and foremost for the highly promising left back’s signature. We might never know just how close the Blues came, but then-manager José Mourinho made no qualms about what he thought of Shaw’s £130k wage demands.
“If we pay to a 19-year-old boy what we were being asked for, to sign Luke Shaw, we are dead. We would have killed our stability with financial fair play and killed the stability in our dressing room.”
-José Mourinho, June 2014
It is rather unfortunate then for young Luke that Mourinho eventually ended up his manager anyway.
Of course, the financial aspects are just one side of the story. Shaw has battled seemingly endless injuries, pulling his hamstring before ever kicking a ball in anger in a United shirt, and perhaps as a result, has also had a ‘lazy’ label slapped on him, especially since José rolled into town. Two years ago, he was also the victim of a horrendous double leg-fracture. United was supposed to be the making of him; it’s been anything but. From youngest player at the 2014 World Cup, to the last man Mourinho would ever put in his lineups, nothing has gone to plan.
And yet, Shaw is still only just 22. His contract is expiring at the end of the season so his association with United is likely drawing to a merciful close. Unless they pick up their one-year club option on his contract.
That said, according to the Telegraph, United are planning on doing that purely just to ensure that they recoup some of their original investment — i.e. to guarantee that Shaw doesn’t just walk for free in the summer2. The rumored price tag they’ve slapped on Shaw is “in excess” of £20m, which sounds a lot but is cheaper than any of the five major signings Chelsea made last summer. One of these days we might wrap our heads around the prices in football.
The report from James Ducker also names Arsenal, Manchester City, Spurs, and Everton as interest parties who are “thought to be keeping a watching brief”.
Chelsea could surely use a backup left wing-back, right at this minute in fact, somebody we’re capable of trusting outside of dire emergencies and somebody who’s not coming off of a major ACL tear.