Reports of United ‘in talks’ over a £25 million offer for the 18-year-old left-back persist whilst reports have now emerged that Southampton may have a target of their own in United striker Javier Hernandez.
It would seem, if both stories are accurate, that perhaps Southampton are somewhat resigned to losing their youngster this summer with interest from other clubs in England also suggested but could the Saints play hardball over the potential deal and insist they acquire one of their own targets as part of it.
I wouldn’t expect a straight swap deal but I wouldn’t completely rule it out either. United may well have to decide what’s more important to them: signing Shaw or keeping Chicharito.
The 26-year-old Mexican international has been a peripheral figure at Old Trafford this season where he sits being Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and his junior colleague Danny Welbeck and I would anticipate the striker would likely be open to a move somewhere he could achieve regular access to first-team starts; but would United want to let him go?
The positives in a deal like this from United’s perspective would be signing the most promising fullback in the country at present. Patrice Evra is approaching the twilight of his career and Alex Buttner still lacks experience and perhaps even the quality to be regarded as the first-choice in that position. However Hernandez, at any other club, would be regarded as a star striker. It is only due to the abundance of quality and experienced options at United that he has ever been regarded with second-string status.
But the player is likely frustrated as he is not playing and he is now at an age where strikers hit their peak years of their career and United would still have Danny Welbeck as cover for van Persie and Rooney, and that’s before they bring any other new additions in this summer under Louis van Gaal.
That being said, Hernandez is an immensely talented player with plenty of experience in the Premier League, Champions League and international level and if injury were to befall Van Persie, as it did this season, Hernandez is the guy you want replacing him up front, in my estimation. Rooney functions more as an attacking playmaker or a No.10 and while he can function as a striker still, you want your most creative players feeding and providing a centre-forward like van Persie or Hernandez.
I don’t think Welbeck is at the level where he is on a par with any of the other three and, at any rate, having four strikers on the books is really what a club like Manchester United should have, given their level of competition.
Losing Hernandez as a by-product of gaining Shaw would, in my estimation, be detrimental to the squad as a whole. Getting the deal for Shaw over the line should not take priority over the players already at the club whom the new manager might not be familiar with yet. If van Gaal doesn’t see Hernandez as part of his plans then all’s well that ends well and let him go, but I think it would be a big compromise to make to bring in a fullback and lose a very good striker.