x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Tall number of interest but no concrete offers for Reading's Long

Several Premier League clubs continue to court the Republic of Ireland striker, but the club are to yet to receive a firm bid.

Brian McDermott, the Reading manager, left, will allow Shane Long to leave the club.
Brian McDermott, the Reading manager, left, will allow Shane Long to leave the club.

Several Premier League clubs continue to court Shane Long, the Republic of Ireland striker, but Reading are to yet to receive a firm bid.

West Bromwich Albion yesterday became the latest club to be linked with a move for the 24 year old, who scored 21 goals last season, but Brian McDermott, the Reading manager, yesterday told The National a "concrete offer" has yet to be made by any club.

"Shane is attracting a lot of interest from Premier League clubs," McDermott said. "We haven't had a concrete bid but there have been plenty of calls."

Newcastle United, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Everton and Scottish side Glasgow Celtic have expressed their interest in the player, who cost Reading €30,000 (Dh161,585) from Cork City in 2005.

In May, John Madejski, the Reading chairman, put an inflated price tag of £20 million (Dh120.4m) on the forward's head. The club could realistically expect to receive bids of around a quarter of that figure but could profit if several clubs enter into a bidding war.

McDermott will be reluctant to lose his prize asset, but admits Reading are "a selling club" and is acutely aware Long has only one year left on his contract.

"I promised him I wouldn't stand in his way and I have no intention of doing that," said McDermott who, as the club's chief scout, was instrumental in bringing Long to the club. "We will do the right thing by the club and the right thing by the player."

Asked if Long had the ability to make his mark in the Premier League, McDermott said: "There is no danger of that. I'd take him to any club I was at."

Roy Hodgson, the West Brom manager, is reportedly preparing to smash the club's transfer record for the player. Hodgson is apparently keen to find a foil for Peter Odemwingie, their top scorer last season, and has been linked with an £8m move for Long.

"We are probably two — maximum three — players away from having a squad I'm happy with," Hodgson said.

"The outgoings will take care of themselves. If we bring in two or three players that will make it difficult for players on the fringe.

"We are not interested in expanding the squad — more in improving quality from last season."

* With agency