Sheffield United may now target Shane Long after missing out on signing Jermain Defoe.
The Blades had been linked with Defoe, but the BBC reports the Bournemouth striker will instead join Rangers on an 18 month loan.
The Sheffield Star first reported of the interest in the England international from Bramall Lane. They also highlighted that Southampton’s Long was on the wish list.
Star journalist Alan Biggs, who wrote the above article, has since reiterated that United are keeping tabs on the Saints ace.
Can United sign Shane Long?
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Before the sacking of Mark Hughes as Southampton manager Long had fallen out of favour in terms of selection. However, since the appointment of Ralph Hasenhuttl as Hughes’ successor, the 31-year-old has missed only two of their six Premier League matches.
The Irishman does still have Charlie Austin and Danny Ings ahead of him in the pecking order, though. Manolo Gabbiadini is also available for Hasenhuttl.
Therefore Long may be tempted by more regular game time; even if it means dropping into the Championship. It is, after all, a division where the forward has enjoyed success in the past, scoring 39 goals in 123 appearances.
What could prove a stumbling block for United – which was also the case for Defoe – is Long’s wages. According to Spotrac, the Republic of Ireland international currently earns around £60,000-a-week at St Mary’s.
That is way beyond what the Blades can afford. It means if they were to sign Long then the Saints would have to help by subsidising the attacker’s pay.