After a mediocre start to the season, Mark Hughes’ Stoke City have managed to lift themselves to the top half of the table and though they have no chance of qualifying for Europe, the manager will hope to improve on his squad in the summer to help them compete with the best next season.
Out of the many stars that have been linked with a move to the Potters at the end of the season, Manchester United full-back Luke Shaw is arguably the most exciting one. The English international was widely regarded as the next big thing in the domestic circuit but he has not been able to live up to his expectations and has fallen out of favour under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United. So is he a decent option for Stoke? Should Mark Hughes spend on him this summer?
Included in the England national squad to take on Lithuania this international break, Shaw is one of the most exciting full-backs in the Premier League at the moment. Known for his bombing runs into dangerous areas and his awareness to get back into his defensive position when required, Shaw looked like the perfect combination of discipline and creativity that can help his side at both ends of the field back in 2014 when he made a £30m switch to the Old Trafford from the St Mary’s. However, he picked up a nasty injury at the start of the 2015-16 season which ended his entire campaign.
He came back to full fitness at the start of the season under Jose Mourinho but it was quite evident that he was still fragile and that he needed time to get back to his best. He is one of the most attacking players in the current squad at Old Trafford and suits Mourinho’s system superbly.
However, the fact that he has made just seven Premier League appearances this season at a club who do not have a fixed left-back tells a lot about his progress in recent times. Though Mourinho gave him a chance to prove himself earlier this month, Shaw did not show enough promise to secure a first-team place at the club.
At his age, Shaw is going to become better each game and it will help him immensely if the expectations that he has been carrying at the Old Trafford are lifted (which will be the case at the Bet365 next season).
Eric Pieters remains the first choice left-back for Stoke City this season while Marc Muniesa has deputised when needed. The Spaniard could be on his way out of the club come the end of the season in search of game time and this is the perfect opportunity for Luke Shaw to get back to proving himself in a slightly less demanding environment.
Stoke City need an injection of creativity and pace to their lineup and beyond doubt, Luke Shaw could be the player who can take them a step ahead next season. The Potters need a full-back who can walk into the first team in a year to come but is Luke Shaw the right man for the club?