Monday, 26 May 2014

Aaron Cresswell: The perfect replacement for Luke Shaw?

Luke Shaw’s stock has rocketed to astronomical levels after his second season in the Premier League with Southampton. The young English left back, recently called up to the England squad for the World Cup, has been turning heads all season long with a string of impressive displays. This has naturally led to the increasing likelihood that Southampton may well lose Shaw this summer as the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea loom.

Shaw looks set to leave St Mary's this summer

However, there is reason to suggest that Saints fans should not be too disheartened by the possible departure of their prized left back, since there is one player who could be the perfect replacement: Aaron Cresswell.

Cresswell has been plying his trade at Ipswich Town for the past three seasons and has racked up an impressive 132 league appearances during that time. Notably, last year he did not miss one league game for the Suffolk-based club.

Nor is Cresswell just a reliable left back who is satisfied with doing a solid job in the Ipswich defence. In fact, he has been their most important attacking source this season putting together some fantastic performances with decent numbers to show for it. The Liverpudlian has notched up 13 assists this year, the most out of any Town player and also the third most in the Championship. He has also created a whopping total of 68 chances, an incredible achievement for a defender. Not since Leighton Baines’ time at Wigan has a full back been so successful in the highest tier of the football league.

Using the Squawka ‘Comparison Matrix’ it is possible to produce some interesting comparisons between Luke Shaw and Cresswell.

Cresswell was named in the PFA Championship team of the year for 2013/14 and he also managed to come ninth in a list of the top ten Championship footballers for the season. A list that is voted for by the managers in the league. He was only one of two defenders to make it onto the list which is notoriously dominated by attackers.

His performances have not gone unnoticed either as numerous scouts have made the trip to Portman Road to check out the former Tranmere Rovers man in action. Southampton, Newcastle, West Brom, West Ham and Leicester have been keeping tabs on him to name but a few. Ipswich are not likely to stand in the defender’s way either if he makes it clear he wants to leave this summer even though he is contracted till 2017.

Mick McCarthy the Town manager said “Cressy might go because there will be people interested in him,” he also added that “I’m not one of those that’s going to say ‘He’s not going anywhere’ because that’s bullshit because he deserves to play there (the Premier League), and if it’s the right offer we’ll have to talk to him about it.”

Cresswell has been impressive for Ipswich

The slight glitch as far as Ipswich are concerned is that Cresswell’s former team, Tranmere, are entitled to make 20% of any profit that Town make from the £420,000 that they bought him for. Therefore, it would not be surprising to see Town act in a bullish manner when cutting a deal with future prospectors and a price tag between £4-5million seems to be quite likely. However, if you consider that Shaw may be sold for something in the region of £25 million then it could well be a good deal.

Ipswich have an excellent history in nurturing young talent before moving them on to the higher echelons of English football. Proven by Connor Wickham’s recent burst of form with Sunderland, and there is no doubt that Aaron Cresswell could replicate similar performances in the Premier League in years to come. 

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