Shane Long is now a Hull City footballer after joining the club for an undisclosed fee on a 3.5-year deal.
So far this season, Hull City has turned in efficient performance after efficient performance — especially at home. Yet the East Yorkshire club remains a relegation candidate just six points off the drop zone. Steve Bruce’s side can point to very few matches where the side has not played well but the lack of goal scoring punch has become more noticeable as the season has worn on with the exception of a 6-0 win vs. Fulham which more of an aberration than anything.
Shane Long may be the solution to the club’s goalscoring problem.
Unfortunately much of the focus this season has been on eccentric owner Assem Allam and his desire to rebrand the team. But with this week’s move for Nikica Jelavić and Shane Long, the focus can return to the playing side.
Summer addition Tom Huddlestone quickly settled into becoming one of the most significant signings of the season for a team likely to fight relegation this season. Huddesltone’s permanent move from Spurs was complimented by the loan move of his Tottenham midfield partner Jake Livermore. Together the midfield duo has controlled the tempo of games often showing an ability to get forward and enhance the attack while covering adeptly for the back four.
The inability of the Tigers to consistently score goals and create chances despite good midfield play has been frustrating to Bruce. The midfield signings have allowed the team to control the tempo of most home matches but goalless draws and matches where the opposition takes its one or two clear-cut chances have not been unusual thus leaving Hull closer to the drop zone than their play would normally dictate. The team often depended on Sone Aluko up front, a striker Bruce had as a youngster at Birmingham City. Aluko’s work rate is excellent like everyone else in the side, but he is not a natural finisher.
Jelavić is perhaps the most natural goalscorer in the Premier League. His first eleven goals at Everton after moving from Rangers two years ago were all one-touch moves. Having a natural finisher like that can give Hull City a better return on what the midfield creates, which is critical to the ability of the Tigers to steer clear of the relegation fight.
With the signing of Shane Long, Bruce will have multiple tactical options to choose from. Long and Jelavić are different styled strikers with the ability to complement each other when on the pitch together. Long’s work rate and willingness to drift deep to get service can help feed Jelavić, the natural goalscorer.