New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long is no longer a target for West Ham.

According to Claret & Hugh, West Ham will not pursue a deal for Long because signing a central defender is not their priority. Instead, Southampton have been given the green light to press ahead with this swoop.

Long has been offered to Southampton, according to Sky Sports News. The report adds that the USA international, who is available for his release clause of just under £5m, nearly moved to West Ham in the summer.

At the end of the summer transfer window, West Ham were desperate to sign a new centre-back. Long was a major target but this fell through due to work permit issues. West Ham will not rekindle their interest in the 27-year-old, even though the latest reports claim he could now obtain a work permit to play in the Premier League.

Centre-back not the priority

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West Ham will not try to sign a new centre-back in January. A source told Claret & Hugh: “That’s not a position we are looking at given we have Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna, Fabian Balbuena and Winston Reid on his way back.

 

“We also have Goncalo Cardoso performing extremely well at under 23 level and seriously trying to push himself into first-team contention.”

This could backfire for West Ham considering how leaky the defence has been. Diop and Balbuena have not been at their best and Manuel Pellegrini has decided to drop Ogbonna for some reason.

Meanwhile, it is unclear whether Reid will ever get back to his previous levels as he last played for West Ham in March 2018. Goncalo Cardoso is a promising player but he has never played a senior game in England so it would be harsh to ask him to be West Ham’s saviour.

Long is not necessarily the answer to West Ham’s problems. But claiming that we do not need a new central defender is a mistake.

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