By Tom J Doyle
Luke Shaw will develop into a better player by staying at Southampton rather than moving to a top Premier League club according to former Saints and Chelsea left-back Graeme Le Saux.
The 17-year-old has gained rave reviews for impressive displays on the left of Nigel Adkins' defence this season which has led to Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all chasing his signature, as exclusively revealed by Goal.com.
However, the teenager has opted to spurn the advances of the top clubs and instead sign a long-term deal with Southampton and Le Saux feels he has made the right decision.
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"Ultimately you have to look at the long-term benefit of the player. Playing regularly for Southampton is helping his development more at the moment than being at one of the top two or three clubs and being sat in the Under-21s."
The former England international played in Shaw's favoured position for both Southampton and Chelsea, and suggests although the youngster may eventually move to a bigger club, the Saints can nurture him into a top talent.
"I think you always have these situations with 'smaller' clubs and younger players who are developing; the reality is if someone breaks into the first team and does well they attract interest from other clubs," he added.
"It's how you protect that player and how long you protect that player for before the reality sets in before you've got to let them go to develop and fulfil their potential.
"Southampton over the years have produced some fantastic players and they have a great development centre.
"They are really family-orientated club so young players feel very much part of and connected with the club, they don't feel isolated. It's obviously proved very successful in the past."
Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have moved from St Mary's to the Gunners in recent years, while Gareth Bale left the south-coast side for Tottenham and has since won the PFA Players' Player of the Year for 2010-11.
Graeme Le Saux was talking ahead of this week’s Capital One Cup Semi-Final first leg ties. Find out more about the competition on the official website at www.capitalonecup.co.uk or join the debate on the semi-finals on Twitter @CapitalOne_Cup using the hashtag #CapitalOneCup.