How good will Shane Long be at Bournemouth?
Having lost Josh King to Everton on a loan deal until the end of the season, Bournemouth completed the loan signing of Southampton forward Shane Long, again on a six month deal.
Long, 34, has been at Southampton since 2014, when he left Hull City for £13.3 million, and has made 10 or more Premier League starts in every full season he’s been on the south coast.
Long has joined a Bournemouth side who sit sixth in the Championship and have just sacked manager Jason Tindall following a run that has seen them fail to win in the league in their past five games.
Accompanying the likes of Dominic Solanke, top scorer with 10 Championship goals, and Sam Surridge as options up front for Bournemouth, Long will be hoping to turn back the clock and rediscover the form he displayed in his early Southampton days.
His best campaign in the red and white of Southampton came in 2015/16, where he netted 10 goals in 23 Premier League starts, as Southampton finishing sixth, just three points off the top four.
That year he took 2.7 shots, completed 1.1 dribbles and created 1.2 key passes per 90; if he can come even close to that Bournemouth, then their promotion bid may be handed a boost.
Without a goal in all competitions this season, it’s fair to say that Long may not be his clinical best, but his willingness to run the channels may create the perfect space for Solanke to add to his goal tally in the Championship.
Other than Solanke and Junior Stanislas, who’s scored nine, nobody in the Bournemouth squad has netted more than five, and for a team hoping to achieve promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking, that simply isn’t good enough.
Whether Long has the quality to help is yet to be seen, but for Bournemouth’ sake, they’ll be hoping he does.