Defender will not be sold to the Gunners in January, insists Saints boss.
Southampton boss Nigel Adkins insists the club are in no mood to do business with Arsenal for left-back Luke Shaw.
Wenger has offered up a lavish endorsement of the academy set-up at Southampton, fuelling speculation he is considering a bid.
“The question about Southampton’s academy set-up is a very good one because they have done a fabulous job,” Wenger said. “It is down to the quality of their scouting, the quality of their coaching and education.
“We produce some technically-gifted players but not as many as Southampton. It is exceptional what they have done. The three wingers (Gareth Bale, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott) and Luke Shaw – that is a good way to study what they have done. They have brought through some players with top, top quality and they work well.”
Adkins, though, says the Saints are not looking to cash in on Shaw.
“I think Luke gets linked every week with Arsenal, doesn’t he? Luke is under contract, he is playing football for us in the Premier League, which is important,” Adkins said. “We are not looking to let him go anywhere.
“If anyone wants to come in for any of our players, by all means speak to the chairman. He does the deals and all the best with that.”
Arsene Wenger’s praise of the Southampton academy has fuelled speculation that Arsenal are plotting a move for Saints defender Luke Shaw.
The 18-year-old is the latest prodigy to emerge from the South Coast and it would be no surprise to see the youngster follow Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to the Emirates, given the ease with which he has adapted life in the Premier League at St Mary’s.
Shaw has drawn comparisons with Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, another ex-Saints star, for his marauding runs down the flank, wicked left foot and dribbling skills. But unlike the Welshman, Shaw looks comfortable at left-back and is unlikely to move further forward to the wing.
With this in mind, he seems a good fit for Arsenal. Woeful Brazilian Andre Santos will be sold as soon as Wenger can find a suitor, while Kieran Gibbs, who signed a new long-term contract last month, looks a fine prospect but has been plagued with injuries.
Shaw, who looks the natural successor to Ashley Cole for England, could make the left-back spot his own at the Emirates for the next decade.
However, Chelsea are also said to be interested in the youngster and have the spending power to blow Arsenal out of the water if it comes to a bidding war.
That said, it’s worth noting that Saints boss Nigel Adkins is adamant that Shaw is under contract and will not be sold in January.
And if Saints can beat the drop, there’s a very realistic chance that Shaw will remain at St Mary’s beyond next summer and continue to learn his trade.
But if they’re relegated, he is likely to demand a move, now that he has tasted Premier League football.
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