Long saga finally over as striker makes Hull switch
West Brom insist Republic of Ireland striker turned down two improved contract offers
West Brom have agreed to sell Republic of Ireland international Shane Long to Hull City.
Republic of Ireland international Shane Long will be unveiled as a Hull City player on Friday with the 26-year-old having agreed personal terms on a move, believed to be worth around €7.5m, from West Brom on Thursday night.
It is not clear whether the player’s personal terms were a stumbling block but the club remained confident a deal could be done and the loose ends were eventually tied up on what is expected to be a three-and-a-half-year contract worth something in the region of €50,000 per week.
“You’re never 100 per cent sure but we would hope if he has gone for a second lot of scans we’re as close as we can be,” Steve Bruce had a said at his weekly press conference yesterday as he confirmed that Long was undergoing his medical. “We’ve got everything in place, so we just need him to sign and that is that.”
It is not clear whether the formal signing took place tonight but with everything agreed Long is now on course to make his Hull debut against Norwich City on Saturday.
Opinion amongst West Brom supporters seemed to be divided on whether it was a good or bad piece of business for the club. Much will depend on how well new manager Pepe Mel, who said at his unveiling that he had been told Long would probably be leaving even before he was appointed, manages to spend the money.
Long most likely has some reservations about the move himself, for he had repeatedly suggested he wanted to stay and would have liked the club to have taken up the option they had to extend his contract.
Given that, it will be interesting to see how he reacts to the claim by West Brom’s sporting director Richard Garlick, who said the club had been trying since early last year to negotiate a new contract and Long declined two offers that would have significantly improved his terms, after which, with his contract in danger of running down, the club decided they had little option but to sell.
The move is at least likely to mean more regular football for the striker who had started just 11 of West Brom’s 21 league games this season.
He came on four times, too, but his return of just three goals was clearly not enough to make him seem indispensable even to a club that could yet find itself in very serious relegation trouble.
Keiren Westwood, meanwhile, is expected to be back playing before the end of the season after an operation to address a shoulder injury sustained in November revealed that the damage was not as bad as had previously been thought.
“He has had the operation,” confirmed Sunderland boss Gus Poyet yesterday. “Everything went all right, he is fine, so he starts his recovery next week. It’s difficult to put a time on it because in the end, it was better than we thought. Initially when they went in and they checked, it was not as bad as they thought, so it probably will be shorter, but it’s difficult to say a time.”
The injury allowed former Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone an opportunity that he has seized to such an extent in Italy this week there have been reports that he could be offered to the opportunity to go to Manchester united as cover for David De Gea.
More immediately, however, Poyet is looking for cover for him and recruiting David Forde, who has not yet agreed a new deal at Millwall, is said to be one of the possibilities being considered.
Liam Lawrence has signed for Championship strugglers Barnsley until the end of the season after a short trial with the club. The 32-year-old midfielder said he was anxious to get back into English football after a couple of years at Greek side PAOK Salonika where he has been marginalised this season.
“It’s going to be a good experience,” he said yesterday, “hopefully I can bring something to the team that will help us survive this year. I missed the football here when I left (for Greece) and I’m looking forward to getting back into the thick of it.”