Today's tabloids, chiefly Mirror Sport, have run a story implying that renowned Manchester United target Luke Shaw, Southampton's left back who has come-of-age of late, has a second admirer for his signature - Chelsea - and the two giants of English football could end up in an auctioning process, or bidding war, over the talented teenager.
With both clubs requiring long-term primary solutions on the left side of their rearguards, due to the fast expiring nature of Patrice Evra's deal at Old Trafford and Ashley Cole's precarious status as Blue, Shaw - 18 - is suddenly in-demand with Friday's transfer deadline fast approaching.
However, how does the gifted yet inexperienced Saints star compare to others in his position? Namely: Leighton Baines, who was also on the reported shortlist of defensive candidates current United boss David Moyes hoped to recruit to Stretford, Kieran Gibbs at Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur full back Danny Rose, Cole and Evra.
Out of all players listed in the table above, it is Rose and Baines who enjoy the most touches on the football, with the latter making the most passes and Evra attempting the fewest.
Once a mainstay in any Chelsea manager's selection since he swapped North London for West, the data perfectly highlights how Cole has become less adventurous, attempting the least dribbling runs out of the six and also supplying the least crosses - by quite a distance - with a 0.62 per game average. Cole's all-round attacking efficiency pales in comparison to even Shaw, as the veteran Englishman has created just 0.08 chances per game.
Baines, unsurprisingly given his form this season, is the most dedicated when it comes to tackling, yet Evra more than makes up for it with his prolific clearing.
If anything, this data demonstrates that Shaw is not yet the finished article, even when compared to living legends of the game such as Cole, a player who has deteriorated due to his enhancing years but remains a useful commodity.
With a transfermarkt.co.uk valuation of £9.7m but an anticipated sale price of £22m, any club - whether it be Chelsea or United - wouldn't be paying for the talent the player possesses now, but what he could and should develop into.
image: © wonker