Date: 19th January 2016 at 1:21pm
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Following the signing of Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin over the weekend, Monday saw an apparent link with Liverpool for Shane Long.

Late Sunday night/early Monday morning, a number of outlets including The Mirror were suggesting that Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp were very interested in our Republic of Ireland international Long and were so interested that they were hoping to grow their purchases from St Mary’s by another £8million.

With a number of other departures to Anfield – each with varying degrees of success since the summer of 2014 – Long was tipped to be the next one as Liverpool look to boost their attacking options but Southampton have drawn a line in the sand and rejected the offer.

Whether that stays a rejection if they come back in with an improved offer based on the £8million talked about remains to be seen, but with manager Ronald Koeman making no secret of the fact he wanted the club to show the ambition to keep their best players when possible so a real squad could be built and not simply rebuilt every summer, it looks like the board may have listed if this speculation is on the button.

It must be said there are no quotes that I can see or even ‘sources close to’ as the usual excuse for fabrications in our ethical media but with Austin coming in it’s easy to understand why the speculation has surfaced.

I also wouldn’t be overly surprised if Southampton were maybe looking to move on the former West Bromwich Albion player as for me, he and Austin are very similar in their use of the channels – although Long tends to come deeper for the ball I think in link up play.

All the reports I can see quote Chairman Ralph Krueger though, who said after the Austin signing that departures weren’t the plan and everybody liked the options and strength in depth we had.

‘Players coming in and out of here in the last two weeks of the transfer window is not in the plan. I would never say never on either direction because it`s the nature of the sport; you don`t know what opportunities present themselves. At the moment we are pleased with the depth and Ronald has shown we have different line-ups. Ideally would be to keep all those names in the line-up.’

Speculation about Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle continue unabated but I can’t be bothered to repeat that again.

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