Southampton must resist Arsenal and Chelsea’s advances for Luke Shaw

Southampton Football Club

The 17-year-old left back is the latest product of Southampton's impressive academy to impress for their senior side, and with the Saints now in the Premier League, they should be able to repel potential suitors.

In the recent past, Southampton fans would have been justified in being a little wary of getting too excited about the latest young star their youth academy produced.

With Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur especially keen on raiding the South coast, they have had to watch the likes of Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain leave before reaching their twenties.

As Shaw is a technically gifted left back with bags of pace, the comparisons with Bale are easily attached to him, and plenty of sides are watching his progress carefully.

There have already been reports linking Shaw with a transfer to one of the Premiership's big guns, with Arsenal and Chelsea the alleged current favourites. However Southampton are now a Premiership team, and whilst this doesn't make them invulnerable to top clubs trying to prise their players away, it should make it easier for them to keep hold of the likes of Shaw.

Southampton can now offer a better chance of first team football in the Premiership than any of the sides linked with Shaw. The left back has been an impressive part of the defence as Southampton have tightened up in recent matches.

Shaw has started the last six matches, during which time Southampton have conceded only four goals and kept their first two clean sheets of the season. Given that he is only 17, there's every incentive for Shaw to stay at the club for several more years and continue his development, rather than turn out for the reserves at another side.

No youth academy in England has a better recent record than Southampton's, but they haven't always been able to feel the benefit of that work in the first team. Fans will have become accustomed to seeing their young stars leave often before they've even completed a full season in the side.

Shaw will provide a litmus test over how their Premier League status may change this. If they can keep the 17-year-old for a few more seasons then they can send a signal that they're no longer open for business with regards to their youth products.

image: © ingythewingy

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