18-year-old England starlet Luke Shaw is heavily linked with a number of Premier League clubs ahead of the World Cup in Brazil this summer after a sensational season at Southampton.
The Saints’ left-back made 38 appearances in all competitions this term, with some impressive bursts down the left flank at St Marys and is subsequently included in Roy Hodgson’s England squad and linked with interest from Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool in recent weeks.
However, Liverpool are also reportedly monitoring the availability of the Shaw’s highly rated counterpart in La Liga in the form of Alberto Moreno. The 21-year-old Sevilla left back has been included in the Spain squad for the World Cup after bursting onto the scene in La Liga and the Europa League this season.
Moreno is three years Shaw’s senior, which could certainly impact the performance levels of the pair when compared but, overall, which young fullback would represent the best buy in the transfer market this summer? Shaw is reportedly rated in excess of £35 million, whilst Moreno is linked with a bid from Liverpool less than half of that figure, around £16 million.
Shaw made one assists this term and scored no goals across 35 appearances which is no surprise for a defender but Moreno scored 3 goals and made no assists for Sevilla across 29 appearances in La Liga.
Shaw operated a marginally higher pass completion rate of 79% across the season to Moreno’s rate of 78.9%, which effectively means there was no difference in the pair’s passing accuracy.
Defensively, Shaw averaged 2.1 tackles per game to Moreno’s 1.8 on average but Moreno average 2.5 interceptions per game to Shaw’s 1.1. They committed almost the same number of fouls with Shaw committing 0.8 per game and Moreno 1 per game but the Englishman made a far greater number of clearances, averaging 3.5 per game to Moreno’s 1.5 per game.
Going forward, Shaw completed the more successful dribbles, averaging 1.6 per game to Moreno’s 1.1 and won an average of 1.3 free kicks for Southampton when he was fouled compared to Moreno’s 1.1 for Sevilla on average.
Shaw averaged 40.1 passes per game to Moreno’s 29.1 per game on average (and yet still had the higher completion rate) and completed 0.8 crosses per game to Moreno’s 0.6, making him undoubtedly the better option going forward, other than in terms of goal threat which is significant for a left back.
Overall, I’d have to say that Luke Shaw is the better option if we are comparing the two players as fullbacks as well as being the better signing in terms of potential to develop, aged just 18, however, I do not believe Shaw is twice the player Moreno is.
I think the premium paid on English players is excessive and this is an apt example of that – if, for example, Liverpool acquire Moreno for £16 million they will have themselves a future star in the making (with Europa League experience, I might add) but I can’t justify the £30-35 million price tag on Luke Shaw, other than the fact that potentially more clubs may be vying for his signature.
He is probably the better prospect of the pair but he is not twice the signing Alberto Moreno is.