Rangers have started the season in decent form under Steven Gerrard, but that is unlikely to prevent the club from dipping into the transfer market for a new striker before the end of the month.
Indeed, a recent report from the Evening Times claims that talks are ongoing between Rangers and Hearts regarding a potential deal for Kyle Lafferty, although Craig Levein has claimed the transfer is “not inevitable”.
Rangers interest in re-signing Lafferty has been well documented for a number of weeks now, but there is plenty of reason to believe that Gerrard should have half an eye on alternative targets who could be tempted by a move to Ibrox.
And one player who should be firmly on his radar is Southampton’s Shane Long, as the 31-year-old has fallen massively out of favour at St Mary’s Stadium due to the competition for a starting berth.
The big-money arrival of Danny Ings at Southampton has now put Long in competition with Ings, Manolo Gabbiadini and Charlie Austin for a starting berth.
At 31-years-of-age Long is the oldest of the 4 available options, and that factor alone is enough to suggest that if anybody is facing the chop, it’s the Ireland international.
Long’s record in English football makes for promising reading for any potential suitor: 48 Premier League strikes and 26 assists from 268 appearances is far from groundbreaking, but his Championship return of 39 goals and 20 assists from 120 appearances is certainly one which illuminates the extent of his poachers instinct.
A goal for every 192 minutes played is certainly not one to be sniffed at and, considering Long should enjoy more freedom to express himself in the SPFL, Rangers would certainly see a terrific return from the relentlessly determined striker.
Long should be available on a loan deal in his current situation, and if that does indeed prove to be the case Gerrard should submit an offer as soon as possible.
The signing of Lafferty would give Rangers a boost in their bid to shift the balance in power in Scottish football, but the signing of Long would give them a significantly stronger edge in the final-third due to his rich experience in the Premier League and natural desire to make runs in behind the defence.
Rangers fans – thoughts? Let us know below!