Luke Shaw has been the target of criticism from Jose Mourinho yet again, and with Leighton Baines on the downside of his career, Everton's left back successor could be on the market.

By 90Min
March 20, 2018

The saying goes that 'all good things come to an end' and, sooner rather than later, Leighton Baines' time at Everton will be up.

As great as it is to see the Toffees hero marauding down the left flank again after four months out with a calf injury, the fact remains that Baines is in the twilight of his career and, at 33 years of age, doesn't have more than three or four years left at the top.

Which is why, given the rumors that did the round in Tuesday's media, Manchester United outcast Luke Shaw could be the ideal long-term replacement to take up Baines' mantle at left back.

The United fullback was criticized yet again by boss Jose Mourinho following Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup triumph over Brighton - negative comments which may force the 22-year-old out of Old Trafford after one too many barbs from the Portuguese manager.

Regardless of who is in charge at Goodison next season - Sam Allardyce is under pressure after all - Shaw could be the right man to step into Baines' shoes and herald in a new decade-long stint in that position on the field.

It's no secret that Everton have struggled for a left back in Baines' absence. Cuco Martina manfully deputized in an unfamiliar role until Baines' return to fitness, but he was a right-footed makeshift option throughout the winter months.

Watch Grant Wahl and Luis Miguel Echegaray provide expert soccer analysis every week on SI TV's Planet Fútbol show.

Luke Garbutt and Brendan Galloway have failed to kick on too and stake their place for a regular starting place in the Blues' senior side - even though the latter has spent this term out on loan at Sunderland albeit without seeing many minutes - and, despite admitting he wished to bring in cover in January, Allardyce failed to land a temporary left-footed stand-in for Baines.

All of which brings us to Shaw. He's the right age, has a wand of a left foot, has seen his stock fall in recent times and has Premier League and international experience.

A project, then, worth pursuing for Everton - but what about concerns about his attitude and fitness that have plagued his time down the M62?

True, Shaw's weight issue was a problem for Mourinho and predecessor Louis Van Gaal, and speculation over his less-than-impressive attitude also circled around 12 to 18 months ago.

Since then, however, Shaw has gotten himself fitter and fought his way back into the fray with United, even if now that arduous fight appears to have been in vain.

At the right price Shaw must be a candidate for Everton to chase this summer if he sees no future for himself with United. It's a risk but, with little in the way of true Baines replacements for when he eventually retires, it's a risk worth taking.

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)