Pepe Mel wished £7 million striker had stayed at West Brom

Albion boss says he would have liked to have kept Long at the Hawthorns.

West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel says he would have liked to have kept Shane Long at the club in January.

Long was sold to Hull City for a fee in the region of £7 million despite rumours that he was set to take up a one-year extension at Albion. Long was part of the Tiger’s January striker recruit that also saw Nikica Jelavic join the club.

The sale of Long and the inevitable fading of Nicolas Anelka have left the Baggies short of out-and-out strikers as they bid to survive a so far challenging Premier League campaign.

Mel also admitted he would have loved the chance to work with Romelu Lukaku, who was on loan with the club from Chelsea last season. But the Spaniard says he understands that Albion needed the money at the time of Long's sale.

“Of course. And (Romelu) Lukaku too. But it’s not possible.” Mel said when asked if he would have liked to have kept Long by journalists at his press conference.

“I was told there was an important amount of money about to be paid by Hull.

“When the decision was made we knew nothing about the Anelka situation. That was a complete surprise. It was completely unpredicted.”

Mel now has at his disposal Victor Anichebe, Matej Vydra, Saido Berahino and Thievy as his striking options until the end of the season.

Albion travel to Hull on Saturday in what is set to be another big fixture in determining the outcome of their Premier League status.

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