West Ham look­ing to Long and Ho­gan if De­foe move fails

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - PREMIER LEAGUE - By Ja­son Burt

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.

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