Betting latest: West Ham 7/2 favourites to sign six-goal PL striker
By Will Butcher
West Ham are favourites to sign Southampton striker Shane Long despite a disappointing season on the south coast, according to the latest bookmakers’ odds.
Sky Bet priced the Hammers at just 7/2 to sign the 30-year-old forward who has managed to find the back of the net just six times in 45 league and cup appearances for the Saints.
The Daily Mail claimed on December 31 of last year that the Hammers were keeping tabs on Long, and they could now re-enter the transfer market for the 71-time Ireland international.
Slaven Bilic’s side are clear favourites to sign Long, with second favourites Burnley way out at a lengthy 8/1.
Premier League quartet Huddersfield, Brighton, Swansea and Everton are also credited with a price, ranging from 12/1 to 22/1 to pen Long’s signature.
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Long has struggled to maintain a regular place in Claude Puel’s side this season and could be offloaded, with Charlie Austin nearing a return from injury.
The Saints have plenty of competition in the final third following the January signing of ex-Napoli striker Manolo Gabbiadini, while Jay Rodriguez is also vying for a starting slot.
That could see Long look to jump ship this summer, despite signing a new four-year deal with Southampton last summer.
Football Insider verdict:
The Hammers undoubtedly need a striker who has proven in the Premier League that he can score on a regular basis. Andy Carroll’s inability to steer clear from injury has seen the Hammers struggle in front of goal, with Andre Ayew, Jonathan Calleri and Simone Zaza struggling to find the back of the net regularly throughout the 2016-17 campaign. However, Bilic’s side should avoid looking to sign Long, with more prolific options likely to be available in the summer. Signing someone like Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge or Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi could prove to be a better option for the east London outfit.
In other West Ham transfer news, Huddersfield have made contact with the Hammers over the potential signing of this fringe star.