Keith Downing insists West Bromwich Albion have no concerns about Shane Long, who has been linked with a move during the January window.
The Baggies surprisingly agreed to sell the Republic of Ireland international to Hull City on deadline day in the summer, but were forced to renege on the deal when Romelu Lukaku snubbed a return to the Hawthorns in favour of a switch to Everton. Long has since gone on to make 15 appearances this season, but he continues to be linked with a move.
A number of clubs, including the Tigers again and also Tottenham Hotspur, have been linked with the 26-year-old, as they look to boost their firepower for the second half of the season. However, Albion caretaker manager Downing is losing no sleep over the speculation, and appears to be confident the Irishman will still be at the club when the window closes.
“Shane Long is contracted to us, the speculation hasn’t been unsettling,” he said in the Daily Star. “He’s fully fit now, but he’s an Albion player, so he plays. We were part of the selection to get him in here, and we have a high regard for him. The speculation in the summer has brought it all up. We believe in him and he’s part of the plans.”
Long remains under contract at the Hawthorns until the end of the current season, but West Brom are sure to take up an option in the deal which allows them to extend this by a further 12 months. Not only will this ensure they can retain him for the current season, but protects them from losing him on a Bosman free transfer in the summer.