West Brom preparing to break the bank for new striker

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Roy Hodgson is desperate to sort out his striking problems ahead of the visit of Manchester United this Sunday in West Brom’s opening Premier League fixture.

Last season’s top marksman Peter Odemwingie is set to miss the encounter as he continues to struggle with an ankle injury and Hodgson knows he needs reinforcements if his side is to compete with the champions.

The former Fulham manager has turned his attentions to Reading striker Shane Long and is prepared to bid a club record £7million to secure his services.

The Baggies have reportedly been in extended discussions with his Long’s representatives over the weekend and a deal looks close to being finalised.

The 24-year-old, who scored 24 goals last season, has been attracting interest from clubs in both the Premier League and the Championship but West Brom look to have beaten off the competition.

This news will come as a disappointment to the likes of Leicester City, West Ham, Newcastle United and Everton, but is a clear signal of intent by West Brom.

Long may be viewed as a replacement for Odemwingie in the opening stages of the new campaign but when the Nigerian, who scored 15 Premier League goals last season, returns to action the potential partnership between the two could stand them in good stead for a successful season.

Having already secured the signature of Ben Foster on a year’s long loan from Birmingham, Hodgson will want to add the signature of Long to his previous acquisitions this summer.

These include Zoltan Gera who was successful with Hodgson at Fulham and is returned to the Hawthorns on a free transfer, as well as Gareth McAuley and Billy Jones.

The money spent on long will represent the first cash spent by West Brom all summer and will smash the club’s previous transfer record of £4.7 million, paid to Real Majorca for Spanish midfielder Borja Valero three years ago.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.