Why Celtic should plot a January swoop for Southampton’s Shane Long
Back in June 2011, the Express had claimed that Celtic were one of the clubs interested in signing Shane Long, who was then plying his trade for Reading. However, a move didn’t go through and he went on to sign for West Brom in the summer of 2011.
Shane Long’s Premier League career has stagnated over the last few years. The 32-year-old managed 26 Premier League games last season, starting just 12 of those. Yet, he bagged five goals and two assists, helping the Saints avoid relegation under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Even at 32, Long still can offer a few years of quality service to any club. That said, Celtic would be wise to rekindle their interest in the forward during the January transfer window.
Celtic and Rangers are closer than ever, with Steven Gerrard and Neil Lennon going head to head for the Scottish Premiership title.
The Hoops have enjoyed a fantastic start to the season and are on the top of the table due to a superior goal difference. Lennon’s men are also on top of their Europa League group.
But to keep pace with a resurgent Rangers side, Lennon must add firepower to his attack. Vakoun Issouf Bayo is expected to miss six weeks, with the manager admitting that he could require surgery to fix a knee problem. Meanwhile, Leigh Griffiths hasn’t featured since August and he could take some time to attain match fitness.
That leaves the Celtic boss short of numbers up top, with Odsonne Edouard being the only recognized striker at the moment. An injury to Edouard would leave the Bhoys in a real crisis.
To avoid such a scenario, Lennon must bring in Shane Long. Long has been playing at the highest level for more than a decade now.
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The Republic of Ireland international certainly has more than enough pedigree to play second fiddle to Edouard and ease the pressure off the 21-year-old.
Thus, Celtic must go all out to sign Long from Southampton in January as the 32-year-old could make a huge difference at the Parkhead.