It wouldn’t of course be the first time that Tottenham Hotspur have tried to raid the south-coast for a prodigious, teenage, left-sided talent, but regardless of whether we really are in for Luke Shaw or not, his recent link with a move to N17 gives us a good bit of food for thought.
Yesterday’s report in the Haringey Independent hardly amounted to a cast-iron bit of journalistic fact, but the cited claim of Daniel Levy feeling smug confident about landing an initial £8million deal – potentially rising to a £15million- for the 17-year-old seems to check out in both fee and logic.
Of course, the noise coming out of St. Mary’s back in January was that Shaw was set to sign a five-year deal in the summer which is all very well and good, except they might not find themselves in the top-flight come the end of a season.
Ingrained within Shaw’s doting quote of devotion to the Saints was his musing that the playing in the Premier League was, ‘all anyone wants to be doing,’ so it’d be interesting to see what happens if they fall through the trap door.
Regardless of whether he does stay at Southampton or whether the report was pure fabrication, there would of course be a slight difference in say, us trying to prise him away from the south coast, and the Arse or Chelsea doing the same. Mainly because where as he would go to both of the above enjoying run outs in the Capital One Cup, there’s a chance he might end up playing Champions League football as a first-team regular should he come to N17.
Now let’s hold on a minute before those salivating with Benoit Assou-Ekotto fever get ready to maul The Hotspur Way to pieces. On paper the logic in dumping out a fans’ favourite and experienced campaigner for a teenage talent that’s recently just clocked up his 20th Premier League game, seems frazzled at best.
But the problem is, while Disco Benny might still be a fans’ favourite, you can’t help the feeling that Andre Villas-Boas might not exactly be dancing to the Cameroon man’s tune.
AVB’s decision to start Benny on the left wing probably had more to do with his brain melting for an afternoon, as opposed to anything you can draw sinister long-term conclusions from, but it certainly spelt another bizarre chapter in a relationship between manager and player that’s been under the microscope frequently since the Portuguese first came to the club.
Wheeling out the old adage of their not being smoke without fire, is usually a good way of accepting the usual garbage that the tabloids tend to peddle our way on a daily basis. But we’ve intermittently heard of reports suggesting that the AVB might not fancy Assou-Ekotto at the back all season and even upon his return to the side, he’s not looked quite as invincible as he has done in seasons gone by.
The notion of dropping BAE without due reason would have been unthinkable under ‘Arry, but AVB (lot’s of acronyms going on here, isn’t there) didn’t hesitate to can him for the trip to West Ham. One incident, yes, but regardless of the merits of it, churning him out for a centre-half in Jan Vertonghen was hardly a vintage showing of faith.
On his day, Assou-Ekotto is one of the most cultured full-backs within this league – both on and off the pitch. But if we look past the LOLs, the barnet and the feints inside the penalty area, he hasn’t exactly set the world on fire upon his return. And unless he hits a higher gear, regardless of how high we might hold him in esteem, the clock might be ticking down on him to prove to Villas-Boas he belongs in the first-team next season.
In an ideal world, Disco Benny stays and the we leave someone else to play hard-ball with the Saints over Shaw. But should there be a slim possibility we might be able to attain the youngster’s signature – who has the potential to be a very, very special talent indeed – it could just tip the scales in favour of an Assou-Ekotto exit.