West Bromwich Albion were prepared to offload Shane Long on transfer deadline day, due to the uncertainty surrounding his future at the Hawthorns.
The Republic of Ireland international joined the Baggies for a club record £6million in the summer of 2011, and he has gone on to score 16 goals in 69 Premier League appearances. He has also been an ever-present in the early stages of the current season, which made it all the more surprising when he looked to be on his way earlier this month.
Albion had accepted an offer for Long from top-flight new-boys Hull City, who were confident of persuading him to make the move to the KC Stadium. And had Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku opted to rejoin the club he spent last season on loan with rather than Everton, it is all but certain the 26-year-old would have joined the Tigers.
That Long was even allowed to hold discussions with Steve Bruce’s side was something of a surprise, particularly as the Baggies have made a poor start to the campaign and have yet to score a single goal. However, manager Steve Clarke has revealed that the former Reading striker’s contract situation was likely the reason for accepting the bid.
“The club made a decision which was right for them – obviously I’m part of the club – but very quickly, the bid collapsed,” the Scottish coach told the Daily Mirror. “Shane and his advisor need to sit down and talk with the club to try and get a resolution. Given contract talks had stalled for so long, it is possible that’s why the club originally accepted the bid. Shane is a very, very important member of our squad. I’m delighted he’s here.”
Although Long’s standard contract does indeed expire at the end of the season, Albion have the option to extend this by a further twelve months. Clarke will no doubt be hoping that something is arranged between now and the opening of the winter transfer window in January, otherwise Bruce may well come knocking with a second offer.