EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal step up pursuit of 5m-rated Shaw with talks to be held TODAY
22:24 GMT, 31 December 2012
If Arsene Wenger has anything to do with it, Luke Shaw will be Arsenal’s next Saint.
Gunners officials will use New Year's Day's trip to St Mary’s to hold talks with Southampton in their attempts to land the 17-year-old left back.
Arsenal will make an offer for Shaw this month and it is hoped Tuesday’s discussions will pave the way for the club to end their two-year quest to land the latest jewel to emerge from Southampton’s ultra-productive academy.
Shaw thing: Luke Shaw has been tipped to be better than Gareth Bale
'We produce some technically-gifted players but not as many as Southampton,' said Wenger. 'It is exceptional what they have done. The three wingers [Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott] and Luke Shaw, that is a good way to study what they have done.
'The question of Southampton’s academy set-up is a very good one because they have done a fabulous job.
'Why It is down to the quality of their scouting, the quality of their coaching and education. They have fantastic scouting.'
Wenger and his chief scout Steve
Rowley knew they had to have Shaw – tipped to be even better than Bale –
as soon as they first saw him.
Arsenal saw a summer offer rejected by Saints chairman Nicola Cortese,
who knows the youngster will soon be worth a small fortune. Chelsea, are
Whether he can resist Arsenal’s
advances this month remains to be seen, but what is for certain is that
Shaw is an England regular in the making.
Should Shaw arrive at the Emirates Stadium, he will not be short of a friendly face willing to take him under their wing.
Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain both make emotional first returns to the club that gave them their big break on Tuesday.
The elder of the two's impact on the Gunners has been well-documented this season – but his fellow former Saint has had to bide his time.
Saints made it easy: Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have both taken the step into international football after moving to Arsenal from their first club Southampton
An exceptional first campaign with Arsenal resulted in him gatecrashing England’s Euro 2012 squad. But only now are we starting to see the form that persuaded Roy Hodgson to take a punt on Oxlade-Chamberlain in the summer.
The 19-year-old was excellent in Saturday’s win over Newcastle, scoring his first Premier League goal of the season in the 7-3 win.
And his return to the form that made him England’s joker in the pack last summer does not surprise his manager, who insists he knew Oxlade-Chamberlain would be a top player the minute he set eyes on him.
‘The first time I watched him was on tape, he was at that level where he played he looked lightning quick and a good dribbler as well and we like that,’ said Wenger.
‘I had enthusiastic reports about him and we sent different people and everybody said he is something special.
‘When I saw him you could see in his movement and first touch that he had something special. ‘