Chelsea see Southampton starlet as long-term Cole replacement

Chelsea appeared to have identified the player they see as Ashley Cole’s long-term successor, and he comes in the form of Southampton left-back Luke Shaw.

The Blues made their interest known in the player last summer, prior to his Premier League debut, and then had a £10m offer knocked back in January.

A string of impressive top-flight performances have seen Shaw’s stock rise yet higher though, and Chelsea are ready to step up their pursuit of the 17-year-old.

No matter who takes the Stamford Bridge reins next term, Roman Abramovich is believed to have prioritised the signing of Shaw as he aims to reduce Chelsea’s average squad age.

And the Russian tycoon is growing increasingly confident of landing the prodigal full-back, with a willingness to lend the player back to Southampton set to prove a catalyst in any potential deal.

Indeed, the Saints are reportedly ready to accept £10m for Shaw’s services, should the player be allowed to remain at St. Mary’s for another season on loan.

The 12-month extension Cole recently signed to his Blues contract means he will remain first-choice at Chelsea next term, and so the club would allow Shaw to make an instant loan return.

Tipped for a huge international future, the fact that he has become a regular fixture in Southampton’s starting line-up this season is a testament to Shaw’s talents.

As such, Chelsea are not the only club interested in securing his signature, with Arsenal believed to have heavily scouted the player also.

However, their more pressing need for players to head straight into the first-team would seem to negate their chances of signing Shaw, whose continuation playing regularly is crucial to his development.

Therefore, a move to Chelsea seems to make sense for all concerned parties, and looks likely to materialise this coming summer.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.