Luke Shaw has looked like Manchester United’s left-back elect since the end of last season, when the Old Trafford club bid £27m for him back in May. But it seems the former Premier League champions have now averted their gaze to a new target.
Since Mauricio Pochettino swapped the St Mary’s dugout for the plush seats on the White Hart Lane sideline and Rickie Lambert re-signed for boyhood club Liverpool, the Saints have blocked any more departures from the club until a new manager has been appointed.
That speed bump in United’s Shaw pursuit seems to have been enough for Louis van Gaal to look elsewhere, with a young, attacking player to replace Patrice Evra eagerly sought by the Dutchman.
His search seems to have moved to Spain, with the summer of upheaval at Barcelona raising the possibility that Jordi Alba could be lured to the Premier League.
The Red Devils, who are 5/1 to win next season’s title, would have to use a fair chunk of their reported £200m transfer kitty to get Alba to don the famous red shirt next season, but are clearly willing to fork out to get their man, as their Shaw bid shows.
As far as Van Gaal is concerned, the sooner he can conclude his transfer business and begin moulding his squad to play his preferred style the better.
Southampton’s manager blockade is a spanner in those works and with a player of Alba’s ability potentially available, the 18-year-old could miss out on the chance to represent the Old Trafford club next term.
Alba is a more notorious attacker than Shaw, having scored two or more goals in a season in five of his six campaigns as a professional and his lung-bursting runs from full-back have become a trademark of his play for both Barca and Spain.
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