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Football: West Brom accept Hull bid for Irish striker Long

Published on Jan 16, 2014 8:57 PM
West Bromwich Albion's Shane Long (right) is challenged by Aston Villa's Leandro Bacuna during their English Premier League match at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich on Nov 25, 2013. Hull City were granted permission to open talks with Long on Thursday, Jan 16, 2014, after having an undisclosed offer for the Irishman accepted. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - English Premier League football club Hull City were granted permission to open talks with West Bromwich Albion striker Shane Long on Thursday after having an undisclosed offer for the Irishman accepted.

Hull completed the signing of Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic from Everton on Wednesday for a reported club-record initial fee of £6.5 million (S$13.5 million) and are now pressing ahead to further strengthen their strike-force.

"We began talking to Shane about a new contract last spring and, during the ongoing negotiations, we made him two offers which would have significantly increased his salary," West Brom sporting director Richard Garlick told the club's website.

"However, despite our best endeavours, Shane has declined to sign a new contract.

"Shane effectively only has 18 months left on his deal and with him no closer to accepting our terms and then Hull making an acceptable offer, we felt it was in the club's best interests to accept the bid."

Jelavic could end up costing Hull £7.5 million, if Steve Bruce's side avoid relegation from the Premier League, and British media reports suggested that Long will cost £7 million in a similar type of deal.

Long, 26, began his professional career with Irish club Cork City and joined Reading in 2005.

Reading were promoted to the Premier League in his first season at the Madejski Stadium and he spent six years at the club before joining West Brom in a £6 million deal in August 2011.

He has won 43 caps for the Republic of Ireland, scoring 10 goals, and was a member of the squad that competed at the 2012 European Championship.

Jelavic, meanwhile, has written an open letter to Everton's fans in which he explains that he decided to leave the club in the hope of securing a berth in Croatia's World Cup squad.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Everton fans from the bottom of my heart for their support," he wrote, in a message published by regional newspaper the Liverpool Echo.

"Playing for Croatia is something I also take huge pride in and with a World Cup on the horizon I was in the situation of needing to play more games to make sure I remain in (manager) Niko Kovac's thoughts ahead of the tournament in Brazil."