After missing out on Everton’s Leighton Baines and Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao over the summer Manchester United manager David Moyes is preparing a January bid for 18-year-old Southampton left-back Luke Shaw.
Champions United are 7/2 third-favourites to retain their title and new gaffer Moyes had made securing quality cover for Patrice Evra a high priority over the summer.
The 50-cap Frenchman will turn 33 at the end of the season and reserve left-back Alexander Buttner has made just five league appearances for the club since joining from Eredivisie side Vitesse 13 months ago.
Saints starlet Shaw would be a like-for-like replacement for Evra when the sometime-captain departs Old Trafford, as he combines solid defensive technique with rampaging runs down the wing and good crossing ability.
The Kingston upon Thames native starred in his side’s 1-0 win at West Brom on the opening day of the season and after only appearing twice since due to injury Shaw could feature in Southampton’s clash with Liverpool.
Shaw is just the latest wide-player to come through the Southampton youth team, as Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also started their careers on the south coast before big-money moves to Arsenal.
Gareth Bale played in the same position as Shaw at St Mary’s and the latter’s marauding wing-play has had fans reminiscing about Real Madrid’s world record signing’s time at the club.
The main potential stumbling block for United is that Chelsea are thought to be interested in the England Under-21 international and Shaw is thought to prefer a move to Stamford Bridge.
However, with Ashley Cole still very much part of the furniture under Jose Mourinho despite his advancing years and Ryan Bertrand another potential obstacle to first-team action Shaw may feel he has a better chance of regular game-time at Old Trafford.
Spurs have also been linked with the player and require reinforcements at left-back more than most, with impressive converted winger Danny Rose and centre-back Jan Vertonghen currently the only realistic options in that role.