With just five days to go until the start of a hugely anticipated Championship campaign, 4/1 title joint-favourites West Ham are still looking to making improvements to their star-studded squad.
Their three most high-profile players Robert Green, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole are all yet to leave and Newcastle midfielder Kevin Nolan has joined former boss Sam Allardyce, but the Irons remain in the hunt for another goal-getter.
Allardyce has hinted that Reading striker Shane Long is the man that he has earmarked for that role, though closing that deal will be complicated given both the alleged interest of Liverpool and the Royals’ apparent £8 million valuation.
The Republic of Ireland international has however admitted that he would consider an offer from the east Londoners, who are 11/8 to win promotion, something Allardyce has almost guaranteed that they will achieve.
He said: “West Ham are a big club, so it would definitely be something for me to think about. But I wouldn’t be that disappointed if nothing happened and I stayed at Reading. I’m happy here and I like playing under Brian McDermott. I’m not dying to get out.”
Last year’s play-off final losers, who are 4/1 to recover from that blow by going up this time, are believed to have rejected a £7 million bid already this summer, yet a bigger one may prove tougher to snub with only a year left on Long’s contract.
One team that have rivalled newcomers West Ham when it has come to attracting headlines in the Championship during pre-season are Leicester, who are also 4/1 to finish top after Sven-Goran Eriksson signed nine players.
The Foxes get their season underway away to Coventry on Saturday lunchtime and are 5/4 to triumph in that match.