Southampton adamant that Shane Long will NOT be leaving for Liverpool
Southampton have no intention of selling Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long this month, according to a report in the Sunday World.
Long has been linked with a move to Liverpool and Tottenham in recent days, with Southampton's deal to sign Charlie Austin from QPR yesterday, sparking suggestions that Long could be on his way out.
Yet the report suggests Italian Graziano Pelle may be the player leaving Southampton following Austin's arrival, with the 30-year-old stalling on a new contract and hinting he wants to move back to his homeland.
Saints boss Ronald Koeman has suggested his club will consider Pelle's future this summer, with the striker's contract set to expire in the summer of 2017.
“The situation of Graziano is a little bit different than other players because Graziano will be 31 and 32 at the end of next year and that’s difficult,” says Koeman.
“It’s too early to conclude about his future. I know it’s left one season on the contract but it’s too early now to talk about his future.”
Koeman clarified his club’s position on Long’s future following Saturday’s 3-0 Premier League win against West Bromwich Albion as he stated: “Charlie Austin has not been signed to replace anyone.
“In the summer you never know what happens, but the message is consistent and clear. No player leaves in this transfer window.”
Pelle’s form has slipped this season after his impressive first campaign in Southampton colours following an £8m move from Feyenoord in the summer of 2014.
Having established himself as a key member of the Italy team ahead of their Euro 2016 campaign, Pelle will be concerned that the arrival of Austin will mean his place in the Southampton team will be under threat in what is left of this season.
Juventus and Lazio have been linked with a move to Pelle in recent days and while Koeman has suggested he won’t sell any players this month, Saints may be temped to off-load their 30-year-old Italian forward as he looks unlikely to extend his current contract, which is due to expire in the summer of 2017.
Tottenham have also been linked with a move for Long in recent days, but Koeman and Southampton are keen to categorically rule out any prospect of a move before the February 1st transfer deadline.