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Luke Shaw – Overpriced?

If last summer taught me anything, it was not to get excited about any transfer, regardless of how certain it appeared to be, until the contract was signed and pictures were posted of the player awkwardly posing with our shirt.

Cesc Fabregas wanted to leave Barcelona and was interested in a move to United, yet the club opted to bid just £25 million for him. The club’s decision to release a statement on the situation though, confirming our desire to sign him, foolishly lead me to believe they would do all they could to wrap the transfer up. But no, Ed Woodward just wanted to make us look like a joke.

Thiago Alcantara wanted to leave Barcelona too and his father said he thought the midfielder should snub offers from City, Bayern Munich and Chelsea to sign for us. A release clause of £15m meant the deal was surely too good to be true. United are always looking for a bargain, or “value in the market” as Fergie used to say, so Thiago should have been the perfect transfer. We dithered though and Pep Guardiola swooped in, after David Moyes apparently passed on the chance to sign the midfielder.

Our negotiations to sign Ander Herrera were reported in the press and it looked as though finally we would be signing a quality midfielder. But the deal fell through and United claimed that “imposters” had been negotiating on their behalf.

Amongst reports of bids for all sorts of players in the closing days, including Sami Khedira, after United missed the deadline for wantaway Daniele De Rossi, it looked as though overpaying for Marouane Fellaini wouldn’t be the only business of the day. It was reported that Fabio Coentrao was Manchester bound, only for it to be announced after midnight that the paperwork hadn’t been filed in time.

So, when talk of Luke Shaw’s transfer was banded about, I tried to stay fairly detached from it. If it happened, it happened, but I wouldn’t be holding my breath.

Now that we’ve seen him there, beaming as he holds our shirt, speaking of his delight at signing for the “biggest club in the world”, we can relax a little.

The reaction to the signing was fairly amusing where rival fans were concerned though. Talk of him being overpriced and a massive gamble flooded Twitter and football forums. They can be relieved that it was us that forked out £27m then, and not them. Whilst we can be touched over their concern, you have to wonder why the deal has caused such a huge reaction. Could it be because we’ve just signed a fantastic young player who has the potential to be one of the best players in his position that this country has seen?

Shaw was voted by his peers in to the PFA Team of the Season, ahead of the likes of César Azpilicueta and Leighton Baines, after a fantastic season for Southampton.

Still only 18, he has picked up three caps for his country and nudged Ashley Cole out of England’s World Cup squad this summer.

United spent £27m on an English teenager ten years ago and for all the complaints we may have about Rooney’s disloyal ways, it’s hard to argue with what he’s achieved since signing for United. There’s every likelihood that when he retires he will be the all-time top scorer for both England and United, with his 9 goals short of equalling Sir Bobby Charlton’s record for his country and 33 goals behind Charlton’s record for his club. At the time, Rooney’s transfer fee represented 60% of the world record transfer fee. Shaw’s now stands at 30%. Of course, you always expect to pay more for a striker than you would a left back, but when you consider PSG have just spent £50m on David Luiz, who is almost 10 years older than Shaw and, well, isn’t a very good defender, it should give context to what truly bonkers transfer fees are.

There were similar complaints when United signed Rio Ferdinand from Leeds. The £29m spent on him when he was 22-years-old isn’t like-for-like for Shaw is concerned, given he had already commanded an £18m transfer earlier in his career and was the youngest defender to ever play for England. But again, when you look back on his career, could you doubt that his transfer fee was certainly value for money? Six league titles, one FA Cup, three League Cups, as well as captaining us to European Cup glory in the final against Chelsea in 2008.

It’s far too early, obviously, to start claiming that Shaw’s career will pan out in the same way. There’s the possibility he won’t develop in the way he’s expected to. But if he can cut it in the Premier League when he’s 18, prove himself to be the best player in his position, then it stands to reason he has a bright future ahead of him.

It’s also important to note that if Shaw goes on to spend the bulk of his career at United, there is further value in his transfer, with us not needing to replace our left-back a couple of times over the next ten years. Given how long our English players tend to stay, there’s every likelihood he will be here for a while.

All that said, there’s no denying that defenders rarely go for this sort of price, especially ones that are so young. But it’s hard not to feel optimistic about this deal and I can’t wait to see what he’s capable of, particularly when mentored by Patrice Evra.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. WilliamAR says:

    If Shaw was to still be at Southampton and was to progress at the rate that he is currently, then we did the right thing in paying what we have paid. He’s already pretty mature as a football player given his age. he’s probably the leagues best left back so I think 30 million is about right considering the amount of years we could potentially be getting from him. If we didn’t pay that price and left it a season later he could very well be valued even higher.

  2. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    Why are we justifying the price to anyone? Who gives a damn what anybody thinks. He’s a great young player and we’ve paid 27 million pounds to have him play for us. End of story. ABUs can whine as much as they want, doesn’t change the fact that he will be lining up for Manchester United from August 16th.

  3. FBr David Lee says:


    haters gonna hate anyway. Onwards and upwards for us!

  4. Mohd Fakhrolruzi Bin Ahmad says:

    One more midfield please. Then Ed can do his usual Woodward. And I’d be happy!

  5. Marq says:

    We are in a day and age where you can’t please everyone. With the FFP in place, I am sure the club has done its math and know how much they can spend to stay on the right side of the line. If it takes that much to rebuilt, we will have to spend that much. Trophies are not won with money in the bank, and the club won’t grow, maintain or survive without success. So I say spend that money.

  6. Tommy says:

    Luke Shaw is the best left back in the league, and is getting better, he will be here for more than 10 years which will mean the £30million will represent great value, It is a great deal for all invilved, United, Saints and Shaw. Well done Ed.

    “Cesc Fabregas wanted to leave Barcelona and was interested in a move to United, yet the club opted to bid just £25 million for him.” I didnt think he wanted to leave last season, what I think is Vilenova whos sadloy no longer with us wanted to sell him but when he went because of ill health, the new manager came in and wanted to keeper him, this year Fabregas wanted to leave.

  7. ashtheking says:

    It’s clear our rivals are rattled by our summer signings.t hey thought no one will sign for us but they are shocked to see us sign two promising youngsters.who cares . It’s our money,we will spend

  8. wayne barker says:

    Rent Boys started the ball rolling then City showed up followed by PSG then Monaco have made the transfer market into a farce everyone is overpriced, I wouldn’t give 20 mill for Luiz and he went reportly between 40 and 50 mill,seriously WTF is that about
    Nowadays signing anyone decent for around 30 mill or less has to be considered good business.Shaw is English so more likely to stay in the country and has a huge upside that he could play for another 17 years
    Even if he doesn’t stay at Utd for his full career as long as he keeps progressing Utd will always get their money back and more,so how can he be overpriced

  9. Redfrog says:

    I think Shaw can be amongst our greatest signing from few last years, along with De Gea who was, the most expansive keeper ever, remember ? We will get value for money from this kid I believe.
    I like it when we buy very young players. After home ground players, that is the most exciting way to do things as we can see the players progress and become stars for us, while learning United way.

  10. Dela says:

    I don’t believe in this game of comparing prices of players, nor do I believe you should expect more from a higher priced player than a lower priced player.

    United fans used to do my fucking head in when they ragged on about Berbatov’s £30m+ price tag.. as if he had ANY say in his own valuation between United and Spurs. The same goes for Marouane Fellaini, he had no say in his valuation whatsoever. Neither did Mata, and neither did Ander Herrera or Luke Shaw. You can find examples from a bit further back too, like juan sebastian veron.

    So before we look at ABUs talking about the prices United are paying, we need to look at ourselves because United fans have been pressuring players for a few years based on their cost to the club. I’m sure that doesn’t help them either.

    But really when it comes down to it, the players won’t be JUDGED on their price tag by history, that will be a mere footnote. Instead, they will only be remembered for what they did on the pitch, for good or bad.

    The price tag doesn’t really bother me all that much, we’re not betting the club on these players. United is a ridiculous cash generator, it prints its own fucking money… sure this season will be less than others due to the lack of Europe but we can MORE than afford a down year or even two, or even three and still be absolutely fine. United has had considerable financial muscle for years now and Fergie simply never had to use it. Now with Fellaini, Mata, Herrera and Shaw we’ve crossed the £100 million barrier in less than 12 months and there doesn’t seem to be any alarm bells ringing at Old Trafford.

    I think its THAT part that is really driving ABU rants about shaw and herrera’s valuation… because we don’t NEED to sell our best players in order to afford good players. I think a lot of people hoped we’d fall off for years like Liverpool but the resilience is already showing in the signings we’ve made and in the players linked to the club… and in the tactical genius of the man who is about to take charge who it appears might actually have a very real shot at coming here as a world champion.

    I think Ed Woodward knows well that other clubs (outside of perhaps chelsea, monaco, city and mabe PSG) wouldn’t have spent as much as we did on Mata, Herrera and Shaw in particular… but I think he is also making a very dramatic public demonstration of United’s financial muscle by doing so…. by essentially telling people… “Yep.. we can blow close to £100 million on three players and think nothing of it!”

  11. Marco Soares says:

    Well we can’t complain when the Glazers don’t spend cash and then complain when they do, 30 mil is a lot and buying from a fellow Prem team will always increase the price but to get an accomplished 18 year old prem defender is top business, let’s hope he now works hard to keep improving and in due time people may even speak of the transfer fee as a bargain

  12. Prinz_Prinze says:

    Spot on, absolutely spot on

  13. mjcRED says:

    ———————–De Gea————————
    —Januzaj or Mata————-Vidal—–Di Maria

    A side with pace, muscle and guile. When the fuck was the last time we could honestly say that about our club?

    Bin Rooney the over-rated wasteland if we get an offer in excess of 5 or 10 million, keep Carrick, Valencia, Kagawa, Welbeck, Hernandez, possibly Evans and possibly Smalling if they can both shake off the china doll injury record. The rest I really couldn’t give a blind fuck for.

  14. wayne barker says:

    i normally don’t comment on peoples line ups on here but we don’t want Mata on the right and i was always under the impression Vidal is a box to box enforcer not a #10
    If Mata stays he has to play #10 that became very obvious

  15. Sparkz says:

    I think Mata can play on the right if we play 4-3-3. He did it for Chelsea in his first season and was phenomenal. It means he’s less of a winger, more of a forward, and can stay high up the pitch, close to the opposition goal. Plus the extra midfielder can cover his lack of defensive work.

    But yeah, in any other formation he can’t play wide, has to be the #10.

    That’s probably LVG’s biggest conundrum – getting Rooney, RVP and Mata in the same lineup without messing up the team’s balance.

    As for Vidal – he’s like Toure (but even more versatile). Can play in any of the positions, and at this World Cup he was often played as the Number 10 behind 3 strikers. For Juve he plays more as a box to box centre mid. Have also seen him play out wide or at centre back

  16. mjcRED says:

    Are we really still thinking that Rooney can still be in our reckoning going forward? What does he add to our game now apart from predictable diagonal balls out wide, dire first touch, an alarming drop off in pace and incessant mouthing off at the ref?

    Is there no better option? If we persevere with this guy we’ll surely be going round and round in circles, whilst we compromise the quality and input of our other creative players who will always have to make way for and appease the sacred one.

  17. Sparkz says:

    @mjcred – I’m not his biggest fan but I think he has to still be in our reckoning. Still immensely productive on a goals and assists basis (although we now have Mata and RVP that can do the same). His pace has dropped off but he still offers more in that department than RVP and Mata. Also he still has a huge influence on this team from a personality point of view, which we need atm.

    Personally I think he needs to either play as the #9 – high up the pitch, concentrating on the final third. Or deeper in central midfield. I DON’T think he should be playing as the Number 10 or out wide, he doesn’t have the skill set for those roles any more. Those positions need to be for more mobile players that can beat a man and play quick one/two touch passing.

  18. Blacksocks says:

    I honestly believe Rooneys better days are behind him and in LVG we have a manager, who, if he agrees with my assessment (and why shouldn’t he!!!!!!!) would a) have the balls to tell Rooney exactly what he thinks of him and b) the balls to tell Ed to sell him.

    Next season really is make or break for Rooney. His best position IMHO is as the main striker, not the #10 (Mata all the way for me). RVP is our best player in that role. Even if Hernandez is sold, that still leaves Welbeck (whose best position is also as the main striker) and a certain James Wilson who looks a real porspect too.

  19. RedOne says:

    Overpriced? Think not…its more like a great investment for the future.

    As for the lineup…let`s wait and see who comes and goes but ideal formations are probably going to be 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 with players we have, as some of you already mentioned.

    Personally think Hummels is not coming this year, De Vrij or Vermaelen on the other hand more likely. And Probably another midfielder. Vidal would be awesome. Id offer Nani and Chica + 15 mil to test the waters…Still not sure whats going on with Carvalho, but it`s highly unlikely we are going to pay over 30 mil for the lad.

    So personal ideal lineup and tactics would be like this

    ————De Gea——–
    Rafa—-Jones—-De Vrij—–Shaw

    Mata from the right with left foot and Rooney from the left with the right foot with orders to shoot from all possible positions once in 25 yards radious. Rafa and Shaw come to join from the wings with Carrick and Vidal staying behind to cover their backs. Herrera here is the obvious playmaker and pulls the strings and can switch positions with either Rooney or Mata if he is overcovered.


    ———De Gea——–
    Rafa—-Jones—De Vrij—-Shaw

    Another more offensive lineup with width enhancement. There is the direct line from the full backs to the wings where balls are going to the wings from the back line, direct, through the deep lying mids or long balls. Once the ball on the wing, the opposite wing closes in the penalty box and the full back comes to the other side where the wing was previously incase the ball crosses the penalty box. And to the penalty box should be CF, opposite Winger, AM, and one of the Mids, while the other M and remaing 3 defenders provide cover in 3-1 formation against the counter. In case of possesion it could also shift back to 4-3-3 with wings moving in to join the striker and fullbacks joining in on the wings while AM shifts back to the CM. But in this case, there are too many offensive players on the pitch. The play in this formation would have to be fast, fluid and efficient or risk failing like in Moyes reign…

    As for the subs or cover. Valencia for Rafa, Smalling and Evans in pair for Jones and De Vrij, Evra for Shaw, Fellaini for Carrick, Fletcher for Vidal in 4-3-3 formation and maybe Cleverly for Herrera, while Fletcher and Carrick are subs for Herrera and Vidal in 4-2-3-1 formation. Januzaj for Mata, Chica for Rvp and Welbs for Rooney in 4-3-3 and Zaha for Januzaj, Kagawa for Mata, Welbs for Rooney and Chica for RvP in 4-2-3-1.

    Nani can go, Cleverly too, Fabio going for sure…and if Kagawa, Zaha, and Chicha leave also, Lingard, Lawrence and Wilson can take those spots.

    Great in the theory, but it`s never going to work like that, cause some players are staying in the first eleven regardless of the form, fitness and also the position on the pitch they have to play. Also current form plays a big role on who is playing and who not. Same for injuries and fitness. And sometimes personal conflicts between players and managers…

    Let`s see how LVG does it and who else we sign before the start. Cant wait:)

  20. Prinz_Prinze says:

    Seems like Adrain Durham of dailymail agrees with me about cheating afterall, show me a team that win things and i’ll show u a cheat in there.

  21. UtdSenna says:

    He is not overpriced if you look at other transfers. The old 15m is now the 25-30m. It’s insane how the prices have skyrocked. This is what happens when you have so many rich clubs in PL. And United started it.

  22. Marq says:

    Rooney is in an odd position right now, it is almost like he doesn’t fit any position perfectly. You have RvP who will definitely be the #9, Mata who will be the #10, Januzaj who seems to fit the #7 of playing on the wings and cutting in. Herrera looks to fill the #8 of cycling possession. If we can get Vidal, we will have the #6 role covered, if not Carrick will continue there. The only position left for Rooney is #11, which we will prefer a winger to play.

    Interesting to see how LVG will find a system to bring the best out of everyone, or that something has to give. We all know had Sir Alex continued one more year, Rooney would already be gone, so we will see

  23. Marco Soares says:

    We got an array of talent going for and in attacking areas but I still think this side lacks a little bit of pace and even more so if Chicharito leaves, Alexis Sanchez would be an ideal signing as he has ample skill and terrific pace, with him in the side we’ll have the fire power to compete for the league title

  24. The One says:

    The market has gone completely bonkers since those moneybags started throwing money around to get what they want, so whey are people questioning us for spending. When we don’t spend, it’s the glazers are blamed for being unwilling to spend to strengthen the team but when we splash the cash, they ask if we’ve overspent? It appears to me they’re envious, even running scared as well.

  25. John says:

    Whatever United fans think about Rooney reality is he in all likelyhood play alongside RVP in 3-4-1-2 formation with Kagawa/mata behind the two strikers. I don’t think he will be dropped in central midfield esp if we are to sign someone like Vidal. I think Rooney shall be incorporated in any of the formations by LVG as the new manager seems to adopt the system that makes use of the available top talents in the team and those who gives 200% always. Rooney IMO gives his all always whether we like him or not. Contract extension of Antonio Valencia also should give us a clue that the team of LVG shall be a blend of talented players as well as those who “never lets the manager down” whenever called for or team requires ala Dirk Kuyt.

    I think LVG will get best out of Rooney next season with the introduction of suitable formation.

  26. Neil Moore says:

    What’s this clamour for Sanchez all about? Mark my words he would be a Nani. Inconsistent and frustrating.

  27. Tommy says:


    I would say Rooney does not have the energy for midfield, believe me when I say midfielders fitness levels are way and above anyone elses on the pitch and hes just not made that way with his his lifestyle hes chose to have, he can get away with it against youre newly promoted sides but not against anyone decent im affraid, so for me hes either a number 9 or hes not in the team its thatv simple.


    It seems Camaroon agree with you mate, their all getting done for match fixing apprently, does not surprise me with the way the african sides are money motivated


    Yep youre right, how dare we spend our own money, crime of the century.

  28. NBI Red 21 says:

    It is a lot to pay for an 18 year LB by any objective means, but then the market is crazy and there is the British mark up. There were equally good international options available for less.

    In terms of quality, I do not consider Shaw the best LB in the EPL or for England, he is one of the top 5 LB’s in England 4sho, but what we are buying is potential. I would still rate Ashley Cole and Evra ahead of him for key games and rotation and rest may do Evra a world of good. Personally I would have preferred Varane if we could get him to replace Rio and stuck with Evra and Buttner for another season. CD is a more critical position for United with none of the young players having stepped up and/or injured constantly. CD for me is a big worry. Don’t want to see Carrick in Cd again. Maybe a huge bid for Varane or a top CD and sticking someone like Cole in on a free for a year at LB would have been an option.

    I think Shaw is a good buy but not an exciting one in particular and I don’t think he is anywhere near the level of the top LB’s in the world yet.

    Like Scholes, disappointed we have not got Kroos and I don’t think Herrera is same league as Kroos either.

    That said it is great to see us getting players in and Shaw should be an improvement on Buttner though I would have liked to have seen more of Buttner. Herrera definately an improvement in Cleverly and Fellani, Not sure how he will do in the EPL and how LVG will use him, Kags, Mata, Carrick and Januzaj. But given how he is doing with Holland at the World Cup LVG seems to be able to pick the right players and get the best out of some average players. So for me we have made decent but not spectacular signings so far. Neither are players to get you off the edge of your seat, both however have proven solid players at their level and are young.

    Robben is some player. Super star. I really wish he has signed for United.

    Would like to see us sign a top CD, we cannot fail to replace Rio and Vida. Also another MF player in the Kroos style and possibly a striker if Pea goes though LVG usually only plays with one.

    Who is leaving? If Young and Nani leave Zaha has a chance maybe. But we are very short on quality wingers.

    Glad to see us buying. But CD needs work. Hopefully United have enough money in and can raise enough from player sales. Can’t see us not selling a few more.

  29. Neil Moore says:

    Disagree. Shaw looks the business. A big lad, athletic, powerful, fast can defend and attack. He’s a man boy a freak of nature. As for Herrera he will be class. Saw some clips of him against us and he was all over the park. Breaking up play, putting a foot in, great passer and one touch player. And that scooped ball over the top for Munain was ridiculous. I’m excited by both signings. Love Scholes obviously but I think his comments were a bit off.

  30. NBI Red 21 says:

    @ Sparkz – Rooney’s stats on goals and assists look better as he gets chance after chance and is always played. If Mata or Kags or RVP or even Januzaj had the same time in that position I am pretty sure they would at least match if not beat Rooney’s contribution. You can’t judge on overall numbers as when he plays others do not get the chance to play and show what they can do in that role.

    Said it last year, Rooney should have gone and SAF had correctly spotted the guy was past it. He was poor for England in the world cup, has been poor for United for 2 years and for £300k a week in wages we should offload him while he has value and use the money to bring in players in positons that we do not have enough depth – rather we sold Rooney and bought a top LW. RVP replaced Rooney in his first year. This myth that he is needed at United is surprising. We have more than enough cover. He needs to go and should have gone.

  31. Neil Moore says:

    Herrera will do fine in Prem seeing as he ran the show at OT. Andy Mitten has been raving about him and all the Spanish experts are comparing him to Xavi or Iniesta.

  32. red war says:

    Rooney should leave? I don’t know. Maybe RvP should leave.

    He will never have a peak season again and he looks very immobile – tired. He waits for the ball as if he was Inzaghi and contributes almost nothing in the build up.

    Rooney is not the same any more. But so does RvP. Rooney is not the best choice for No. 10 but he connects the line and covers for Carrick’s and RvP’s immobility. RvP is the best No. 9 in the team but offers no more than constant goal threat.
    Next summer will be a striker crisis summer. If Rooney doesn’t lose weight and RvP doesn’t get younger (he won’t) then it will be difficult for us.

    BUT, if Welbeck overcomes his fears and gets more confidence he will become a true world beater.
    Let’s hope LvG will change him.

  33. red war says:

    As for the 3 – 4 – 1 – 2 …. This is not a league formation. It can’t carry you for season long. And it needs 3 centre defnders to be played. Not… Evras with unpolished positioning. We need to buy at least two more centre backs and offload wingers, if we are to play this, which we won’t.

    And if we are to play this formation, whos is starting as wing back? Valencia (useless in this position but renewed contract) or Rafael?

    Forget it. No 3 – 4 – 1 – 2. This is a single tournament formation, a knock out matches formation.

  34. UtdSenna says:

    Tommy: I never said you shouldn’t spend. But United paid insane money for some players in the past. Just like other clubs do now. Now it’s not just United that got money in PL.

  35. Tommy says:


    Difference is United spend money generated through the club totally different to the oil clubs who are spending someone elses money

  36. EC7 says:

    It’s rumoured the rent boys are going in for Felipe Luis, the Brazilian Athletico Madrid left back who can’t get into his national side. The price is somewhere in the region of £24m. I think he’s 28. Just putting things into a little perspective. I know what option I’d go for all day long.

  37. Tommy says:


    I will give you the benefit of the doubt, youve clearly never seen Herrera play, All Kroos has got on Herrera is a better shot, even then it will either hit row z or the back of the net. Herrera is a better long and short passer than Kroos, better tackler than Kroos, reads the game better than Kroos, has a better engine than Kroos when Balague says he is the heir to Xavis throne for the national team he means it. I will also repeat what I have said for the last 18 months Shaw is the best LB to have visited OT in the last couple of years bar none, and one of the finest teenagers I have seen, it is a great piece of buisness from Woody, both signings will be terrific I am sure

  38. FBr David Lee says:

    for you lot talking about 3-4-1-2, 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 4-3-1-2 and etc, wanna bet LvG gave you a shock of ur life by playing 5-3-2 haha

    i might be wrong, but Vidal can play as a DM right? His versatility will be an added bonus, jack of all trades in midfield.

  39. FBr David Lee says:


    I am afraid of Kroos being another hollywood shooter like lampard, gerrard.

    Your observation on Herrera’s, game reading, passing skills & tackling spot on. All that remain is whether he can stay on his feet if tackled by rough defenders, or bewilder them.

  40. kaiwayne says:

    Shaw is truly great signing ,rivals being butthurt of us specially Chelsea lol

    Few weeks ago they were arguing with us him being a Chelsea fan ,he will only sign for them ,now what hahaha typical attitude from rivals . we’ve signed a gem of a player hopefully he will fulfil his potential at united .


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