Southampton swoop for Ireland striker Shane Long

London: Southampton announced on Thursday that they have signed Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long from Hull City on a four-year contract for an undisclosed fee.

The 27-year-old, who only joined Hull from West Bromwich Albion in January, has moved to St Mary`s for a fee that could reportedly rise to around £12 million ($20 million, 15 million euros), according to media reports.

"Shane is a very good player. As a striker, he`s different to (fellow new signing) Graziano Pelle, which is something we needed," Southampton manager Ronald Koeman told the club`s website.

"He brings ambition and a great mentality. He`s always running and always working, and he`s very down-to-earth. He`s a great person, and we need that type of player."

Southampton finished in eighth place last season, but have since lost manager Mauricio Pochettino as well as first-team quintet Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren and Calum Chambers.

Long is their sixth close-season recruit, after Pelle, Dusan Tadic and Fraser Forster, and loanees Ryan Bertrand and Saphir Taider.

"I`m delighted," said Long. "This came out of the blue for me, but once I`d come and had a look at the training facilities and met the manager, it seemed like the right decision for me and my family.

"It was a hard decision for me to make, but when you come down to Southampton you see how big a club it is and how well set up it is.

"Southampton play a brand of football that`s enjoyable to watch, and I`m sure it`ll be enjoyable to play in as well. I think the formation they play will suit me, and the manager has a lot of knowledge about football and I`m looking to learn off him."

Long joined Reading from Irish side Cork City in 2005 and spent six seasons at the Madejski Stadium before signing for West Brom in 2011. He has made 47 international appearances for Ireland and scored 11 goals.

Koeman added: "He brings a lot of experience to our squad because he`s already played at Premier League level for a few years. He knows what we need at this level, and he can show that to our younger players as well.

"Shane will be an important player for us and our future."

Southampton open their Premier League campaign away to Liverpool on Sunday.

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