Poll: Bruce casts net after Long’s £12m record exit

Shane Long.
Shane Long.
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STEVE BRUCE will weigh up his options before deciding on a possible replacement for Shane Long as the striker’s £12m move to Southampton edged closer last night.

The 27-year-old spent yesterday on the south coast after agreement had been reached over what will, providing the deal goes through, be a Tigers’ club record transfer fee by some distance.

Long joined City in January for £6.5m and even allowing for the sell-on clause inserted in the transfer that will hand West Bromwich around £600,000 from the sale, the Yorkshire club will bank a substantial profit.

Those funds are likely to be handed straight to Bruce, who even before Saints’ interest in Long had been strongly linked with a possible move for Watford’s Troy Deeney.

It is understood City did enquire after the Hornets forward at the start of 2014 but were rebuffed and there has been no further contact since.

Deeney has already been the subject of bids from Leicester City, Queens Park Rangers, Burnley and Swansea City this summer with Watford believed to be holding out for £10m, a price that the Tigers viewed as excessive in January.

Whether the cash from the Long deal will alter that stance remains to be seen but sources in Hull have indicated to The Yorkshire Post that the transfer has happened so quickly this week that the club has, as yet, no ready-made replacement lined up.

That said, the impending closure of the transfer window at the end of this month is focusing minds and a host of potential candidates are under consideration.

Yannick Sagbo and Sone Aluko could both start at QPR, due to Nikica Jelavic not yet being fully fit.

As for Long, Southampton, their coffers swelled by a summer of big-money departures from St Mary’s, are confident of concluding a deal in time for the Republic of Ireland striker to be available for the opening day game at Liverpool on Sunday.

The Saints did consider making a move for the Irishman in January but decided against it. However, the departure of Ricky Lambert has left new manager Ronald Koeman determined to bring in another forward.

Long’s fee is three times the club’s previous transfer record, the £4m Sunderland paid for Michael Turner five years ago.