Sheffield United should forget Scott Hogan and sign Shane Long on loan instead

According to a report in the Sheffield Star on Sunday, Sheffield United will continue to pursue a deal for Aston Villa striker Scott Hogan before the loan window closes, but they should be targeting Southampton’s Shane Long instead.

What’s the word, then?

Well, Blades boss Chris Wilder has been heavily linked with a move for Hogan throughout the summer with the Sheffield Star reporting more talks are expected this week, but it appears any deal depends on Villa getting a striker through the door themselves – something which hasn’t happened with just a couple of days of August left.

The Yorkshire outfit certainly look to need another option to supplement David McGoldrick, Billy Sharp and Leon Clarke up top, if the club is to be involved in the Championship promotion race this term.

Meanwhile, reliable The Sun journalist Alan Nixon says that Saints are willing to loan Long out, which makes the fact that he started Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Leicester City even more bizarre.

Why should Wilder get Long?

While his goalscoring record in recent times hasn’t been particularly impressive – both at Premier League and international level for the Republic of Ireland – you would expect that to improve if he dropped down a division.

10 goals in 28 top flight appearances in the 2015/16 campaign show what he is capable of when he is on his game and confident, but he brings far more than just goals to the team.

As he showed against the Foxes at the weekend, the 31-year-old is a constant menace to opposition centre-backs with his pace and ability to put them under pressure and chase lost causes, and you would expect him to get more results from that in the Championship.

Decent in the air and able to run all day, he could prove to be the perfect foil for new boy McGoldrick up top.