Southampton's reported pursuit of Hull City striker Shane Long could prove to be a remarkably shrewd move by manager Ronald Koeman.
Although the £12 million fee might seem slightly excessive to many, it could be argued that for an (almost) home-grown player with Premier League experience, it is about the going rate.
Especially when you consider that Championship side Fulham paid £11 million for Leeds striker Ross McCormack this summer, the £12 million for Long does not seem too steep.
Whilst Long is not the most prolific striker in the Premier League with a total of four goals in 15 Premier League appearances for Hull in the second half of last season combined with just 19 goals in 81 Premier League appearances for West Bromwich Albion, he is always a nuisance in and around the box.
What he may lack slightly in goals, he more than makes up for in work-rate, with his non-stop running and athleticism a defender's nightmare.
The 5ft 11in striker is strong and, coupled with his superb stamina and endless running that can work a defender into the ground, the benefits are there for Long and his teammates to exploit.
What that will give Southampton is a different option, one they were often crying out for last season. Long will give them the ability to play a ball in-behind for him to chase, as well as being able to continue their high-pressing game they enjoyed under Mauricio Pochettino.
With the absence of Jay Rodriguez through injury in the latter part of the 2013/14 season, Southampton missed a player with genuine pace and power, something that Long has in abundance.
It will also allow Koeman a choice between Long and his other new striker Graziano Pelle, or perhaps he will use Long in a wider role.
Premier League experience
Another attribute that Long will bring to the Southampton side is experience of playing in the Premier League. His experiences with West Brom and most recently Hull City will mean that Koeman is not taking a gamble with his signing.
Going abroad, as Southampton have done for Pelle, does not guarantee an immediate result, with some players taking months if not longer to adapt to the physical nature of the most exciting league in the world.
Long will not need that. He will be able to go straight into the Southampton side and Koeman will be well aware of that fact with the season opener against Liverpool just days away.
The price may seem over-the-top to some, but when you consider the above, it may well turn out to be a very clever move by Koeman and Southampton.
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