Manchester City are ready to flex their financial muscle and pay a world-record £30million in January for Southampton’s outstanding young English prospect, Luke Shaw.

City have made it clear to Saints chairman Nicola Cortese they will pay the fee immediately to blow away rivals Chelsea and Manchester United, who also hold a long-standing interest in the left-back.

Shaw, 18, is regarded as England’s long-term successor to Ashley Cole and City accept they will have to break the world-record fee for a full-back to get him — beating the £29.5m paid by Barcelona for Dani Alves in 2008.

Shaw — and his club — have indicated he is happy to stay at St Mary’s until the summer. But City are primed and ready to beat any offer should he become available this month.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini is convinced Shaw is the long-term answer to his problem left-back position and will allow Aleksandr Kolarov to return to Italy should the youngster arrive.