Liam Shaw signs pre-contract with Celtic
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Sheffield Wednesday academy graduate Liam Shaw has signed a pre-contractual agreement with Scottish giants Celtic FC.

Shaw will leave his boyhood club at the end of the 2020/21 campaign upon the expiry of his current deal.

It was understood that Wednesday had tabled a deal for the 19-year-old, but Neil Lennon confirmed on Tuesday night that the deal had been completed after he entered the final six months of his contract.

Joe Crann of The Sheffield Star has reported that the Owls will receive around £300,000 in compensation – a fee substantially lower than what Wednesday would have valued him.

The promising midfielder has made 15 appearances this season so far, scoring one goal.

Shaw’s breakthrough

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Shaw has been with the Owls from the age of eight, slowly progressing through the ranks as a dynamic midfielder.

The 19-year-old’s first taste of senior football came in November 2019 where he joined Chesterfield on a short-term loan, making just four appearances.

The box-to-box midfielder continued to impress in the club’s Under-23s, earning him his debut in the Owls’ 3-0 victory against Queens Park Rangers in July 2020, where he came on as a second-half substitute.

He was then handed his first start just 11 days later at Hillsborough as Wednesday were beaten by Middlesbrough on the final game of the campaign.

This season has been Shaw’s breakthrough campaign, however, coming out of nowhere to force his way into the line-up as a regular.

Then-manager Tony Pulis handed Shaw his first league start of the season against Stoke City on Saturday 28 November, where he impressed once again.

However, Shaw was sent off for a late challenge in the draw with Reading at the start of December, though, it did not derail his form as he was placed straight back into the side after his suspension was served.

Shaw netted his first professional goal on Tuesday 29 December, doubling the Owls’ lead against Middlesbrough at Hillsborough.

The versatile midfielder continued to flourish for his boyhood side, which enticed the interest of Celtic, for whom he will join at the end of the season.

Excellent business from Celtic

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Celtic have plucked a promising talent out from the Championship for a steal if Shaw can continue his rise and maintain his development at the rate he is currently.

The 19-year-old is mature for his age; he plays with intensity and is a creative player when deployed correctly, though, he has also been useful for Wednesday in a defensive role, featuring at centre-half on a few occasions.

This is a great move for Shaw, with Celtic’s track record of developing talents from the lower regions of Scottish and English football and selling them on for profit.

It has been this cherry-picking transfer policy that has helped the Bhoys stay prominent in Scottish football, seeing them win nine-straight Scottish Premier League titles up to this campaign.

Moussa Dembélé is a fine example of Celtic’s philosophy, signing him for just £500,000 from Fulham and turning him into one of Europe’s most sought-after forwards, with Dembélé joining Lyon in 2018 for £22m.

Other players such as Virgil van Dijk, Victor Wanyama and Stuart Armstrong have also seen the transition from Celtic Park to a higher standard of football for profit.

This opportunity is an excellent one for Shaw, who will have ambitions to follow a similar route, with the chance of European football also being a major pull.

Impact on Sheffield Wednesday

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Despite the fury shown by the Wednesday fanbase, Shaw should be allowed to continue to play, as his impact on the side will be mightily important in the Owls’ fight for survival, as they currently sit in the Championship’s bottom three.

Once again, it has been a case of the one who got away for the Owls, with talents such as Sean Clare and George Hirst slipping through the net for either small tribunal fee - or for free in Hirst’s case.

Wednesday must change their strategy when it comes to contracted players, as it seems as if we have this conversation every season, with key figure’s contracts being allowed to run down and with them leaving on the cheap.

The Owls currently have 18 players whose deals expire in the summer, including talents such as Osaze Urhoghide, Ciaran Brennan and Alex Hunt.

It is no secret that the Owls’ academy has not had as big of an impact as the club may have hoped, with Liam Palmer being the only example of an academy graduate who has enjoyed a long run in the side, with goalkeepers Joe Wildsmith and Cameron Dawson mostly playing the understudy role to Keiren Westwood during their early careers.

Wednesday have to change this mentality to be able to maximise profit and let youngsters progress into the side more.