West Ham want to sign New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long but cannot complete a deal due to him currently being unable to secure a work permit, according to Sky Sports.
The broadcaster’s live transfer blog (16:47) claim that the Hammers can’t get a deal done for this reason and state that the 26-year-old enforcer is also a target for Marseille, Fiorentina, Rennes and Lyon, but that he is keen on a move to the Premier League.
Sky Sports previously reported that the Hammers had been offered the chance to sign Long and revealed that the 6ft 1in tall centre-back (Source: Transfermarket) has a £4million release clause in his contract.
It seems the Hammers have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Long, and there doesn’t seem like there is any obvious solution at this time. Long, who was named MLS Defender of the Year in 2018, clearly doesn’t meet the requirements needed to be handed a work permit, and that’s not going to change in the next 13 days before the transfer window slams shut. This means West Ham need to search for another centre-back to sign if they’re determined to recruit one, and perhaps return for Long in the future when he can get a work permit. However, it is no doubt disappointing for the Hammers that a deal can’t be sealed as for £4million, Long would have been a bargain. The 26-year-old has proven to be a force in the air for New York Red Bulls this season as he has won 4.9 aerial duels per game across his 12 league outings in his current campaign, as per WhoScored, and he has even managed to rack up a goal. Given that £4million doesn’t usually go far in the transfer market, the Hammers are going to have to work hard to find a player as good as Long in the same price range.