Southampton boss: "Chelsea target is one of world's best - already"

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino believes that youngster Luke Shaw is already one of the best left backs in the world.

Shaw, still just 18, has broken into the England set up after impressing for a second straight Premier League season on the South Coast, and whilst the Saints are hoping to keep hold of their prized asset, a number of clubs are circling, looking to make the starlet theirs.

The likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham have all been linked with swoops for the left back, but Spanish giants Real Madrid have also reportedly joined the chase, and Pochettino believes that Shaw is certainly good enough to play at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu - or anywhere, for that matter.

"He can play at Real Madrid or he can play in the world starting XI," he said. "He really has the quality to do so. I am not sure if he is one [of the best left-backs in the world] already. I think so. I am not sure if he is already the best one in the world."

It's huge praise for the teenager, whose market value is estimated to be around £20m to £30m after an outstanding season at St. Mary's Stadium, but he isn't expected to feature there for much longer - particularly if he manages to play a part for England at this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

Shaw certainly has the potential to be one of the top left backs in the world, and whilst he is already proving his worth, there are no doubt a number of left backs in world football who would rank above Shaw - players such as Marcelo, Jordi Alba, Fabio Coentrao, David Alaba and even Shaw's England team mate Leighton Baines.

Of course, it's far more likely that Pochettino was simply using hyperbole to drive Shaw's price up even more, as the Saints could cash in on yet another youngster after the fairly recent sales of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

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