Long's future top of agenda as Mel meets Baggies players
New West Brom manager Pepe Mel will meet his players for the first time today, with Shane Long's future at the top of the agenda.
Similar to his predecessor Steve Clarke, Mel will not have full control over Albion's transfer policy. Clarke was keen to keep Long in the summer but he almost joined Hull before the close of the last transfer window when the Baggies accepted a fee.
Hull boss Steve Bruce has confirmed his interest in making a further move for Long and while the player has indicated that he would be keen to stay at the Hawthorns, his employers could yet accept a renewed offer for his services.
The 26-year-old has six months remaining on his contract but Albion have the option to extend it for a further season, and discussions have taken place about agreeing a fresh deal.
However, the West Brom hierarchy are conscious they could lose Long for nothing if the contract impasse continues and they could therefore make the decision that selling now is the best policy.
Mel will be consulted on the next move, but Bruce is conscious that it could come down to other factors.
"We have to wait until we know if he is available or unavailable and I'm sure we will find out in the next few days, but the indications are that we might have a chance," said Bruce.
Meanwhile, Stephen Ireland's permanent move from Aston Villa to Stoke City is expected to be finalised this week.
Chairman Peter Coates has indicated that a move is close to bring the Corkman to Stoke on a permanent basis.
The 27-year-old is in the middle of a season-long loan and will have to accept a drop in salary from his current £60,000-a-week Villa deal, which expires in the summer.