Ireland striker Shane Long could leave Southampton in deadline day loan move

The Irishman has been at St Mary’s since 2014.

Shane Long could leave Southampton in a surprise transfer deadline day loan move, according to reports.

The Ireland striker may move to Bournemouth on a deal until the end of the season with Cherries striker Josh King moving in the opposite direction.

The Athletic reports that King would join Southampton on a permanent basis for ‘a small fee’ with Long joining Bournemouth on loan with an option to buy.

Everton and Fulham are also credited with an interest in King, 29, who has regularly been linked with a move away from the Vitality Stadium in recent years.

The Norwegian’s contract at Bournemouth is due to expire at the end of the season.

Long has been at Southampton since 2014 following his move from Hull City. However, the 34-year-old has not been a regular starter under Ralph Hasenhuttl having managed just one in the league so far this season.

Shane Long down the Saints pecking order.

Danny Ings and Che Adams are both ahead of the former West Brom forward in the Saints pecking order.

The move would represent the chance for Long to play regular first-team football ahead of the start of Ireland’s World Cup qualifying campaign, which begins on March 24 away to Serbia.

Bournemouth are currently sixth in the Championship table and battling for promotion back to the Premier League following last season’s relegation.

Back in December, Hasenhuttl praised Long as someone who ‘gives everything for the team’ after the Austrian left the forward out of his matchday squad for Southampton’s 3-0 win over Sheffield United.

“He gives everything for the team and for the club,” Hasenhuttl said via the Southern Daily Echo.

“Even if he is not playing or not in the squad, he is always positive. He always tries to support the others.

“For every player comes the moment when he gets older, that he is more on the bench. I had the same situation, I was playing until I was 37.

“I knew in the last three or four years I was more a sub but a good sub because I was always scoring, always positive and tried to push the team, because I knew I had a powerful 30 minutes.

“I must say he is still very fit. He can still play 90 minutes without a problem – but even as a sub, I think he is important for our team.”

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