Six months on, could Southampton's Shane Long re-emerge as a Sheffield United target?

Chris Wilder the head

Sheffield United are said to have wanted the Southampton striker ahead of the January transfer window.

A general view of Bramall Lane beofre the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield United and Brentford at Bramall Lane on August 5, 2017 in Sheffield, England.

It's six months since a pair of Premier League strikers - Bournemouth's Jermain Defoe and Southampton's Shane Long - were listed as Sheffield United targets by The Star's Alan Biggs.

Instead, it was another top-flight goalscorer - Cardiff's Gary Madine - and one from the Championship - Aston Villa's Scott Hogan - who ultimately arrived at Bramall Lane, although it all worked out in the end as United gained promotion as second-tier runners-up.

 

But with Madine and Hogan now back at their parent clubs, the Blades have only Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick to call on at the top of the pitch - besides those listed for transfer, of course.

And it is expected that centre forward is one of the areas that will be prioritised as Chris Wilder attempts to reshape his Sheffield United squad into one capable of competing at the highest level.

Chris Wilder the head

But while Defoe is now seemingly off the market after signing an 18-month loan deal at Rangers in January, it's plausible that Long's name could once again feature on the shortlist drawn up at Shirecliffe.

The Irishman [another, perhaps, to add to United's growing collection] may have had a strong end to the Premier League season, scoring five goals in 14 games to keep Southampton in the Premier League.

But he is one of five in his position at St Mary's - alongside Danny Ings, Charlie Austin, Sam Gallagher and Guido Carrillo - and about to enter the final year of his contract. At 32, he may find the offer of a new one slow to materialise, and Southampton open to offers.

Southampton player Shane Long celebrates after scoring the first goal during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and AFC Bournemouth at St Mary's Stadium on April 27, 2019 in...

Whether or not Sheffield United have retained an interest remains to be seen - although Long is arguably the point-to-prove type of player Wilder would usually go for, in spite of his age. And wages [according to Spotrac, he earns £60,000-a-week at Southampton] could prove a stumbling block, as with any Premier League target.

But don't be surprised to see Long crop up in Blades gossip columns between now and the August transfer deadline.

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