Shane Long was a real bargain buy, says Ronald Koeman

Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long is a £12m (€14.8m) bargain according to the Southampton manager Ronald Koeman.

Long, who returns to action for Southampton against Newcastle United today and Koeman, who signed Long from Hull City in the summer of 2014, said: “He’s now showing the money we paid wasn’t too much for Shane Long.

“We always are analysing new players and why we’re interested in them. Of course, it’s also about money because everybody knows we can’t spend much more than £12m (€14.8m) for one player.

“He was an expensive player, I agree at that time, but I think we did our job very well. I think his technical capacity in one touch, in control, to understand the movements, he’s improving.

"That’s all about training. Maybe before Southampton he wasn’t used to that kind of training session, and that’s maybe the difference.

“Still players from that age, 26, 27, when they come to Southampton they can learn and improve themselves, and that’s good.

"Of course, he’s full of confidence, he’s showing that confidence, he’s scoring goals, he’s hassling defenders and that’s what we like to have in front. Shane is one of the long-term players if you talk about three or four years.

“We have Charlie (Austin) in and Jay Rodriguez. Graziano Pelle is different because his age is different.

“We like to have a good group of players that for the next couple of years are Southampton players to develop and make the team stronger.”

Meanwhile, Rafael Benitez has brushed off speculation linking him with the Spain job as he plots a long-term future at Newcastle.

The 55-year-old has been tipped as a potential replacement for Vicente del Bosque when he stands down after Euro 2016 but he says he is looking no further ahead than the fight to maintain the Magpies’ top-flight status and his continued presence in his current post.


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