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Fee is key to Long story

READING boss Brian McDermott has told Shane Long that the Royals will let the Ireland star leave the club and move to the Premier League if a club is willing to pay the going rate.

A number of clubs, including Celtic and Newcastle United, have expressed an interest in Tipperary man Long, but were frightened off by Reading's price tag of £8million. West Brom were also keen on Long, but now it appears they are also unwilling to meet Reading's valuation and may try to land Robbie Keane in a cut-price deal instead.

Manager McDermott believes that Long – who scored in a 7-0 win over a Slovenian club side in a pre-season friendly on Saturday – is good enough to play for any top-flight club but insists that the deal has to be right.

“Whatever happens, happens. I said to Shane back in January, if we don't go up I'll do the best I can to make sure, if a Premiership club comes in, and the deal is right, I will have to do right by you. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want it to happen,” says McDermott.


“As far as I am concerned Shane is the best striker in the Championship – he could play for anyone in the Premier League. Shane is not desperate to walk away, he loves Reading. His mum comes to all the games, he's well looked after, he thinks the world of this team. “I made a promise to Shane last season when I asked him to give us one more season,” he added. “I said let's see if we can get ourselves into the Premier League and then we'll see what happens this season.

“He's got a year to go on his contract and I have said to him that if the right move comes along I can't stand in his way.” Long's Reading team-mate and compatriot Noel Hunt could also be on the move, depending on the outcome of any deal involving Long, as West Ham are about to step up their interest in Hunt. The striker impressed by scoring three times in Saturday's win and Reading may cash in and sell Hunt now instead of losing him on a free transfer next summer.