West Ham looking to Long and Hogan if Defoe move fails
Southampton striker Shane Long and Brentford’s Scott Hogan have emerged as alternative January targets for West Ham United if they cannot prise firstchoice Jermain Defoe away from Sunderland.
West Ham have made no secret of their intention to improve their forward line – especially as they are going to lose £20 million record-signing Andre Ayew to the Africa Cup of Nations and with Diafra Sakho again suffering from a long-term injury.
Andy Carroll is fit but both Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri are cutting short their season-long loan spells after struggling to impress at West Ham.
Despite Sunderland’s insistence that Defoe is not for sale at any price, with manager David Moyes having said he would not even consider a bid, there is a sense that the 34-year-old may favour a return to his former club. An offer of £6 million has been mooted.
Even so, it is difficult to envisage that Moyes will agree to a sale unless a transfer request is submitted – and even then he may dig his heels in given Sunderland’s plight and the difficulty he would face having to find an adequate replacement for his top scorer.
It means that West Ham are actively considering other targets and Long was wanted by the club before he moved from Reading to West Bromwich Albion in 2011. The 29-year-old then moved to Hull City before signing for Southampton in August 2014 on a fouryear deal for a fee of £12 million.
But the Republic of Ireland international has not scored in the Premier League since May, after hitting double figures for the first time in his career last season, and is battling for a place in the Southampton XI despite Charlie Austin being out injured.
The return to form and fitness of Jay Rodriguez has further limited Long’s chances and he has been used sparingly by manager Claude Puel, who also added to his attacking options with record £16 million signing Sofiane Boufal.