Reports: Chelsea and Tottenham to battle it out for £30m rated Manchester United star
Jose Mourinho has been praised by several players and coaches who have worked with him over his career for his ability to adapt to adversity, his tactical nous and his man-management. However, one of the most overlooked aspects of his managerial style has been his willingness to bench players who don't match his expectations.
The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Juan Mata, Kaka and Romelu Lukaku have experienced this first-hand, and the latest player to have been frozen out of the first-team squad by Mourinho is United left-back Luke Shaw. He has failed to make a single appearance in the Premier League this season, and according to reports from the Sun, Tottenham have joined the race to sign the out-of-favour defender.
Luke Shaw is a product of a Southampton academy that has overseen the development of players like Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Adam Lallana. Shaw quickly became a mainstay in the Southampton first team, making 35 appearances for them in the 2013-14 season and earning a place in the PFA Team of the Year for that season.
His performances earned him a move to Manchester United in 2014, with his transfer fee of £30 million making him the most expensive teenager at the time. He started brightly but a series of small injuries meant that he frequently spent some time on the sidelines, before a double leg fracture ruled him out for seven months in 2016. Since his injury, Shaw has struggled to find a way back into the team and has made only 21 appearances in two seasons.
Mourinho has refused to let Luke Shaw back into United's first-team squad and has questioned the player's attitude on several occasions. Shaw has voiced his concerns over his current situation and the Englishman could look for a move to ensure regular playing time ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Shaw still has time to fulfil his potential and there are several clubs willing to offer him that opportunity. Tottenham and Newcastle have just joined the race, but the left-back has been on the radars of clubs like Chelsea and Arsenal for several weeks now.
Antonio Conte attempted to sign Juventus' Alex Sandro in the summer as an alternative for Marcos Alonso. Shaw would provide an alternative option in the position of left-back for the Chelsea manager with his speed and technical ability. Pochettino is also in need of a left-back, with Danny Rose having fallen out of favour after a controversial interview in the summer and a long-term injury that he suffered late last season.
Mourinho would be loathed to strengthen his rivals, but Luke Shaw's situation has become untenable at United. The left-back has not played in the Premier League for a while, and should Mourinho still be at United in the following season, a move seems inevitable. For now, a loan to Newcastle could be the smart thing to do for United.