For the first time in his 8 successful years at Chelsea, Ashley Cole is no longer an automatic pick. His age (Cole turned 33 earlier this week) combining with the recent good form of Cesar Azpilicueta mean Cole will find it hard to regain his place in the side. With the January transfer window looming it would be wrong not to assume that fans, just like Mourinho, will be looking at the potential replacements who could fill the magnificent boots of one of the greatest left-backs that has ever graced the Premier League.
By no means am I saying that Ashley Cole has nothing more to offer Chelsea, his big match performances and wealth of experience mean he is still a vital member of the squad, but not looking at long term replacements soon would be negligent.
Ben Davies, Alberto Moreno and bringing Patrick van Aanholt back from Vitesse were all options that I pondered, but for me there is only one player I want to replace Cole, 18 year old Luke Shaw of Southampton. After making his Premier League debut at 17 he has been a regular for the Saints with his consistent performances earning him caps for the England u21’s.
His reading of the game as well as the ability to sniff out danger from the opposition is exceptional for someone so young. Shaw’s ability to both over and under lap his teammates on the left wing, mean that he could easily provide an increased attacking threat on the left hand side especially when Hazard or Schurrle decide to leave their post and wander in field. There seems to be an ease and elegance to Shaw’s play, especially when he is in possession of the ball, he rarely miss places a pass and often turns defence into attack with bursts down the left hand side. It’s also said that Shaw is a Chelsea fan which could perhaps sway him Chelsea’s way with Tottenham also reportedly interested.
It’s a well known fact that when you buy English talent it’s going to cost. So how much is Luke Shaw worth? according to newspaper reports Southampton value him at £20 Million, a hefty sum for a left-back but taking this into account you have to remember this is a long term investment. Perhaps if Chelsea were to offer Southampton Ryan Bertrand in return, the price could go down to around £15 Million. I’m no accountant so I’ll leave the finances to the experts.
It would make sense to buy Shaw in January and loan him back to Southampton for the remainder of the season. It would enable Shaw to come back in the summer and settle in to Chelsea with a pre season instead of being thrown in at the deep end. This loan option would also favour Southampton, mainly because they will have the time to find a suitable replacement ready for next season.
Although January transfers are normally perceived as short term fixes and I couldn’t argue with anyone who says that a defensive midfielder and striker are positions that need to be addressed first, signing Shaw is important and will save valuable time next summer. So what do you think? Is Shaw the answer or would you like the club to go another route?
Contribution by Jack Nyren