Manchester United continue to be linked with a new left-back as a long term replacement to current star Patrice Evra.
Two names which keep coming up as the rumour mill spins round are Everton’s Leighton Baines and Southampton’s Luke Shaw.
Baines has already been the subject of an official offer from United last summer while Shaw is one of the most exciting full backs to emerge in the Premier League in recent memory.
United’s original offer for Baines was around the £15 million mark while there have been very recent reports about Shaw and interest from other clubs, which have quoted a fee of £30 million for the Saints youngster.
So who would have been the best investment for David Moyes if he moves for either this month or last summer?
Baines is head and shoulders ahead of Shaw in terms of tackles won this season. It suggests that Baines is more willing to take risks, using his experience and timing to get the better of quicker players down his left channel.
Shaw has lost more challenges so far this season than Baines but that can be explained via Baines’ experience. The Everton man has a greater gauge of knowing when to make a challenge and when to back off, letting an opponent have the ball.
This stat shows that they both read the game well, at a fairly equal level with Baines just having the edge. If United are going to spend a lot of cash on a left-back it’s important they can both cut off danger before it develops, which this stat proves.
This is the first area where Shaw appears to have the edge and it’s not a major surprise because he’s younger, slightly quicker and slightly more agile than Baines. However, they’re still both difficult to get the better of in a head-to-head duel.
One of the basic jobs for any defender is being able to clear danger from the back four. Shaw is way out ahead in front of Baines but Southampton play a very high pressing style of football, which can leave the defence exposed and calls for no nonsense defending.
Conclusion: Baines edges the duel by three areas to two and Moyes is understandaly more likely to go with a player he trusts and knows can perform. However with reports that Baines is poised to sign a new deal emerging, his time may be running out.
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