West Ham, Forest and Bournemouth all eyeing USA star hoping for big World Cup, as MLS contract nears expiry

USA defender Aaron Long

TEAMtalk understands West Ham, Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth are all plotting moves for USA international defender Aaron Long in the January transfer window.

Long joined the New York Red Bulls setup in March 2016, originally signing for their second team. He soon gained promotion to their main side and has gone on to make 175 appearances in all competitions, registering 14 goals.

The centre-back, who is 30 years old, helped New York Red Bulls to win the Supporters’ Shield in the 2017/18 campaign. And he was voted as MLS’ best defender that year.

Long has played 29 times for the USA national team and is expected to be part of Gregg Berhalter’s squad for the World Cup in Qatar. Long will play alongside Premier League stars Brenden Aaronson, Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams as the US look to cause England problems in Group B.

It looks like the World Cup will be the perfect opportunity for Long to put himself in the shop window. That’s because his New York Red Bulls contract expires in December and he is considering a free transfer to Europe the following month.

West Ham, Forest and Bournemouth are all looking for defensive reinforcements this winter and TEAMtalk can reveal the trio of clubs are hoping to sign Long.

His experience and free agent status make him an attractive proposition for the Premier League sides. They would be able to add an international defender to their ranks for no transfer fee.

Sources have told TEAMtalk that the California-born star is a long-term target of West Ham’s. They made a loan move for Long in January 2020 but had it rejected by New York Red Bulls, as they weren’t looking to let him go then.

Aaron Long can choose between West Ham, Forest and Bournemouth

Things are different this time around though as the player’s expiring contract puts him in the driving seat. He will soon be able to negotiate with interested clubs, with West Ham, Forest and Bournemouth all in the mix.

In late October, New York Red Bulls head of sport Jochen Schneider revealed the side had worked hard to try and tie Long down to a new deal. But the parties ‘did not come together’ and now Long is looking at other options, and New York Red Bulls are doing the same.

Schneider admitted that Long is ‘a fantastic leader in the locker room’ and that the club would try to restart contract discussions after the World Cup. However, they now appear set to lose him to a European club, and the Premier League is beckoning.

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s Transfer Gossip has given an update on David Moyes’ future at West Ham following the defeat to Crystal Palace.