Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira reported via his personal Twitter account last week that the Hammers had reached an agreement to sign the 26-year-old defender on a four-year deal.
It was understood that the Irons were trying to secure a work permit for the centre-back but it would seem that he was eventually unable to head to the Premier League as he wouldn’t have been able to play.
Although it must have been frustrating for Manuel Pellegrini to see one of his targets being unable to sign due to red tape, it is looking as though it was a blessing in disguise for the London club.
Long has been in stinking form in his last three MLS appearances for New York Red Bulls.
He may be an 11-time USA international and attracting attention from England’s top-flight, but he has done little to show why those caps and that interest is justified with his latest performances.
In his last appearance, in a 4-2 defeat to Los Angeles FC, Long completed just 68.8 per cent of his passes, completed just one tackle, won just one aerial duel – which was in the opposing half of the pitch – and most of his good work came when he completed six clearances by simply hoofing the ball away from danger [WhoScored].
Long seems to be a no-nonsense, left-sided centre-back whose approach just hasn’t benefitted the Red Bulls at all in recent matches.
Even some football supporters on the other side of the Atlantic have been on the back of the former Seattle Sounders player on Twitter:
Not selling Aaron Long when they had the chance was stupid, now they won’t ever get anywhere near that number again lol #RBNY
— Drizzy (@andre_sinho94) August 12, 2019
#RBNY have a startling lack of leadership. Armas is completely unfit to manage this team, Robles is a poor captain, and other guys like Davis and Long have failed to step up to fill the void.
— Matt (@Metros96) August 12, 2019
— JJ (@thesocceryank) August 12, 2019
Long, who could have been sold for a reasonable $4M to several European clubs just a week ago and is now magically worth 15M to #RBNY has been the worst Bull on the pitch since the rumors heated up 3 weeks ago. He's gotten burned several times tonight alone. #MLS
— Alex Fydryszewski (@FydSports) August 12, 2019
West Ham should be happy that work permit issues ensured that they would not be able to sign Long because in the end, Pellegrini was able to add a left-sided centre-back to his side when he snapped up Goncalo Cardoso from Boavista.
Cardoso, 18, cost the Irons just £2.75million and is someone who will no doubt have a much higher resale value than 26-year-old Long, who would have cost £4million, based on his reported release clause [Sky Sports].
It may take some time before we see Cardoso in a competitive first-team setting, but he will no doubt be a much better signing than Long would have been.