Sheffield United must sign Southampton striker Shane Long on loan

Sheffield United have had a decent couple of weeks in the transfer market in terms of incomings but are still not quite there, and now they must look to bring Southampton striker Shane Long to Bramall Lane before the loan window shuts.

What’s the word, then?

Well, despite the blow of losing David Brooks to Bournemouth earlier in the summer, the Blades have bounced back with some impressive deals of their own as they look to be involved in the Championship promotion race this term.

Dean Henderson, Ben Woodburn, Kean Bryan and Oliver Norwood have all joined the Yorkshire outfit from Premier League opposition, while they have also snapped up experienced players at this level in David McGoldrick and John Egan.

However, following the departure of Clayton Donaldson and with attacking duo Billy Sharp and Leon Clarke getting no younger, bringing in a new strike partner for McGoldrick this term could be the difference between Chris Wilder’s men finishing in the top six or not.

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Why should they sign Long?

It’s fair to say that while the Republic of Ireland international has never been a really prolific goalscorer – especially at top flight level – he has a lot more to his game than simply putting the ball in the back of the net.

10 goals in 28 Premier League games for Southampton in 2015/16 and 21 in 44 Championship matches in 2010/11 for Reading prove what he is capable of when he is playing regularly and is confident, and his pace and ability to cause opposition defenders problems with his pressing and closing down mean he is a real pain to play against.

Given he failed to make the south coast outfit’s squad against Burnley on Sunday following the arrival of Danny Ings, he may well be looking for a move away for regular minutes, and Sheffield United need to bring the 31-year-old in to complete their perfect summer window.