Could Bertrand loan ramp up Chelsea's pursuit of Shaw?

Ryan Bertrand

The out-of-favour full-back has secured a temporary switch to Aston Villa but it could potentially leave Jose Mourinho short of options at left-back if he continues to waver over Ashley Cole.

Jose Mourinho confirmed in his Friday press conference that defender Ryan Bertrand would be joining Aston Villa on loan for the remainder of the season as the 24-year-old seeks more first-team opportunities.

Bertrand has grown frustrated at Stamford Bridge, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Ashley Cole ahead of him in the pecking order for the left-back berth and will now move to Villa Park to compete with Antonio Luna and Joe Bennett.

Mourinho has regularly fielded the normally right-sided Azpilicueta on the opposite flank this season with Cole's form deteriorating and a reputed move for Southampton starlet Luke Shaw set to be delayed until the summer.

But with Branislav Ivanovic still struggling for fitness and Azpilicueta subsequently occupying the right-sided vacancy, Mourinho's options in the full-back slots are suddenly less copious than desired.

Given the Blues are embroiled in a title race with Arsenal and Manchester City, the need for squad depth is amplified for the final throes of the season.

It surely cannot be out of the question, then, that Mourinho brings forward his well-documented interest in Shaw and makes a firm bid for the Saints prodigy.

Shaw is not without his suitors, and is one of the most coveted talents in the Premier League so Chelsea will undoubtedly face competition from the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham for his signature in the summer.

A January move may be the best way of capitalising on the current background uncertainty at St Mary's and Mourinho could fend off the plenitude of teams looking to sign him in the close season.

The Blues' move for Matic did not exactly come out of nowhere but there was an element of surprise to it and how swiftly terms over the deal were concluded, don't be surprised to see the club lodge a bid for Shaw in the closing days of the window.

For Bertrand, meanwhile, the move would appear to represent the best possible outcome for all parties.

Chelsea are able to send out a fringe player - their 23rd on loan to be precise - in need of minutes, Bertrand is given a platform to prove he is, at the very least, more than just a competitor at top flight level and, ultimately, whether he has enough to carve out a career at Stamford Bridge.

Villa also benefit hugely. Bertrand is an upgrade on Luna and Bennett, who have both tried and failed to nail down the troublesome left-back spot and perhaps lay down a precursor to a permanent move in the summer.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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