Here is a crazy fact: Shane Long is 30 years old. Thirty! Where did the time go? It seems like it was only yesterday that the forward from Tipperary burst on to the scene. Long has been linked with big money moves over the years to Liverpool and Arsenal but nothing ever materialized. Now he finds himself stuck on the Southampton bench most weeks. That’s why we’re hoping to see Shane Long transfer news in the coming weeks.
An underwhelming season
Long has made 32 league appearances this season, which actually appears quite impressive. However, 22 of those came from the bench. In fact, the Irish striker has only managed a total of 1,249 minutes of league football. For a player meant to be in his prime, Long is being criminally underused. During these 32 appearances, he managed a total of 3 goals and 1 assist. No goals were scored in 5 Europa League games, when he actually started 4 times. This season has been a disaster.
Time to move
When Southampton decided to buy Manolo Gabbiadini in the January transfer window, the writing was on the wall for Long. The defensive minded coach, Claude Puel, sets the team up like a true Ligue 1 coach. Not conceding is the priority. While Southampton clinched a respectable eight position, they finished with a relatively meager total of 46 points and only scored 41 goals all season. The Saints usually only play one up front which means the Gabbiadini, Charlie Austin, and Jay Rodriguez are all competing with Long for a starting spot.
Long also hasn’t scored in 4 Irish matches this campaign. We’re not exactly blessed in the attacking department so Long’s willingness to chase down defenders and give everything in a green shirt means that he is still our best option. However, he is a player that needs to be playing every week. Long has now entered his thirties so needs to think very carefully about his next move.
Shane Long transfer: possible destinations
Three years in Southampton hasn’t done Long’s C.V any favours. In his first campaign, he scored 5 league goals and this improved to 10 in the following year. While Long has never been a prolific goal scorer, it does seem that Southampton aren’t getting the best out of him. Where could the man, who brought Germany to their knees, go next?
In terms of the Premier League, Brighton or Newcastle could be possible destinations. Both play attacking football while Long should be able to command a starting position at either side. Other clubs of interest in the top flight could be West Ham and even Swansea. The latter is likely to lose Llorente this summer and Long could fit their style of play.
Shane Long transfer: Options abroad
Dropping down to the Championship should not be considered. Celtic? 20+ goals would be nearly guaranteed but it comes with the price of playing in a football graveyard. A technically gifted side like Bilboa or Sociedad could fit the bill, while it would be wonderful to see an Irish player try out the helter-skelter Bundesliga. No matter what option Long chooses, it’s clear that it’s time for him to seek pastures new.
What are your thoughts? Is the time right for Shane Long to find a new club?