Manchester United manager David Moyes looks set to up his interest in Southampton’s Luke Shaw after seeing Leighton Baines pledge his long-term future to Everton.
Moyes made a number of inquiries about the England defender in the summer and was expected to make another move before the end of January.
However, the 29-year-old has put pen to paper on a new contract trying him to Goodison Park until 2018, leaving Moyes to consider his options.
Modern day football contracts may not often be worth the paper they are printed on but given Moyes’ well documented interest in Baines the deal sends a clear signal to the United man that he is not for sale.
The news will delight Everton fans and manager Roberto Martinez can now focus on his bid to land Champions League football for the Merseyside club for the first time since 2005 – with a top four finish priced at 5/1 with Ladbrokes.
Moyes, however, will not be as pleased having identified the left back position as something of a priority at Old Trafford.
Brazilian defender Fabio is poised for a United exit – with Cardiff keen to capture the youngster – leaving Moyes with just Patrice Evra and Alex Buttner to call on.
The Scot lacks faith in either player and could now make a bid for Southampton’s highly-rated full-back in order to avoid a summer bidding war with Chelsea.
Moyes issued a statement of intent when smashing United’s transfer record to land midfield ace Juan Mata and insisted that deal would be the first of many.
Speculation is rife that Yohan Cabaye could be the next man to join the champions, but with the Red Devils now slightly overcrowded in midfield, attention could turn to Shaw.
United are currently odds-against at 13/5 to finish inside the top four and Moyes’ desperation to ensure a place at Europe’s top table next term could see the United boss move to strike a deal before the month is through.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.