Reading boss Brian McDermott has conceded that star striker Shane Long could be sold next month alerting both Newcastle and Everton.
The Republic of Ireland international hit 25 goals for the Royals last season catapulting them to within inches of promotion to the Premier League.
Despite the play-off final defeat against Swansea City condemning Reading to another season in the Championship the 24-year-old may get his chance in the top flight after all.
McDermott is eager to keep Long at the Madejski Stadium but a promise made in January has left him conceding defeat in the battle to hold onto his hitman.
“He’s the best striker in the Championship” McDermott told The Sun.
“I said to him in January that if we didn’t go up, I’d do my best to find him a Premier League club.”
Long won’t be short on interest from the top flight with Newcastle and Everton holding a vested interest in the player.
Both clubs are looking to bolster their striking department and it seems that an imminent battle for Long’s signature will ensue once Reading make the player available.
It would provide a boost to Newcastle in particular with manager Alan Pardew failing to secure any of his prime striking targets this summer.