A new contract for Leighton Baines will see United's attention turn to...

Leighton Baines

There is a very good reason Southampton should be hoping Everton’s Leighton Baines doesn’t sign a new contract.

Saints fans everywhere would have produced huge grins earlier this year when teenage full back Luke Shaw signed a new contract at the club, which ties him down to the Saints until the summer of 2018.

That seemingly put an end to the speculation which suggested that some of the biggest sides from all over England were taking a look at him, mulling over the idea of whether to invest tens of millions in a player who will clearly be playing for England in the near future.

However, any new contract Baines signs at Everton means any side in England or across Europe will have two very clear choices if they want to invest a lot of cash in an English full back.

They can either pay a lot of money for Baines, 28-years-old, possibly paying way over the odds for someone getting closer to their 30s or they can invest what would be a huge amount of cash in an 18-year-old with his whole career ahead of him.

Up to the point that Baines signs that new deal, he will always be the obvious option because based on his current contract he’d be cheaper and any side going after him could still get a few good years of service out of him.

It all comes down to the bigger sides interested in these two players putting their business hats on and considering what the better investment would be.

The Saints have made a big statement tying Shaw down for that long and any side that now wants to have a cheeky go at trying to buy him will have to pump a tremendous amount of cash into any deal.

Southampton have no desire to sell and the player has no desire to move to a bigger side just yet because of his clear role and chances of football staying down on the South coast.

If you were a football manager, with a budget of up to £30 million and you needed a left back, wanting to make a British investment then the only sensible option would be to try and sign Shaw.

In terms of the clubs that could look to buy Shaw, Chelsea are probably the favourites because by the time Ashley Cole retires, even if the Blues have to use Ryan Bertrand for a short period, Shaw will be more mature and they have the resources to after him.

The other obvious side is Manchester United but David Moyes is showing a clear urgency to try and find a replacement for Patrice Evra which means they are more likely to look at options outside of the Baines and Shaw duo.

Naturally things could change if Mauricio Pochettino continues to get Southampton playing good football and the Saints start pushing for a top half of the table finish on a regular basis.

They hold all of the power but any side that has held a lingering interest in Shaw could start paying very close attention to him despite his recently signed five-year deal.

What do you think? Which defender would you rather invest in?

image: © wonker

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