Tigers to pounce for Jelavic and Long
Published 10/01/2014 | 21:32
Hull have agreed a fee with Everton for striker Nikica Jelavic and look set to follow up their ongoing interest in West Brom's Shane Long with a formal bid.
Steve Bruce has made no secret of his desire to add firepower to his squad and has met Everton's valuation of Croatia international Jelavic - with an offer thought to be in excess of the club record £5.25million paid for Tom Huddlestone in the summer.
Crystal Palace had also been linked with the player, who has fallen out of favour since Roberto Martinez's arrival at Goodison Park, but Hull have stolen a march and will now begin discussing personal terms with the 28-year-old.
A brief statement released on the Tigers' Twitter feed on Friday night read: "We have agreed a fee with @Everton for Nikica Jelavic, and will enter talks with the striker over the coming days. #UTT".
Jelavic joined Everton from Rangers in January 2012 for £5million and had an immediate impact, scoring 11 goals before the end of a season he finished as Everton's top scorer, despite arriving more than halfway through the campaign.
He has struggled to break into Martinez's side following the arrival of Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea but managed a brace when recalled for the FA Cup third round win over QPR last weekend.
His scoring record of 21 goals in 69 games for Everton is also enough to suggest he would represent a significant upgrade on the likes of on-loan Danny Graham and Yannick Sagbo, who have netted just three times between them for Hull this term.
During his time at Rangers he played alongside Sone Aluko, who has just signed a new contract at Hull, raising the possibility of the pair renewing their partnership.
But, if Bruce has his way, Republic of Ireland international Long could also be vying for selection at the KC Stadium.
Long was minutes away from joining Hull on deadline day in September, flying to the training ground in a specially convened private jet, only for West Brom to pull out of the deal late in the day when their own pursuit of Lukaku fell through.
Bruce has continued to keep tabs on the 26-year-old during a season that has seen him come in and out of the Baggies side, but on Thursday denied newspaper reports that a fee had been agreed and a medical scheduled.
''First and foremost I really want to try and apologise to West Brom as a club, nothing has come from us. We haven't made a bid for any player," Bruce said at the time.
Bruce is still keen to bring the player to the KC Stadium, though, but Hull sources were unable to confirm whether an offer had been lodged when contacted on Friday night.
Although out of contract in the summer, Long would be expected to fetch a similar fee to Jelavic, meaning Bruce and owner Assem Allam are prepared to break the Tigers' transfer record twice in the current window.
Long's wife Kayleah was in the spotlight earlier this week when she appeared to suggest Long would not be leaving the midlands, writing on Twitter: ''Not going anywhere! Told Shane happy here & with baby on way it not worth the stress when still in contract! He agreed?? #happydays.''
That has not deterred Bruce, who believes he can persuade Long and Jelavic to join a side who have defied expectations to lie 10th in the Barclays Premier League table heading into the weekend fixtures.