Andrey Arshavin and 'The Reading Way'

Mike Hewitt

We're always looking for guest writers here on the Tilehurst End and today we've got just that, as one of our posters emailed in this look at how a rumoured move for Andrey Arshavin would look given the much lauded 'Reading Way'.

Quotes emerged this weekend that suggested Reading are wasting no time in planning their January spending.

Owner Anton Zingarevich reportedly told Russian media: "Arshavin is interesting for Reading but he is one of 10 players that we are interested in."

That is a bold statement from Zingarevich, and one which could have massive repercussions on the club's future.

The desire to bring in a second influx of players so soon after the first (seven senior players were added to the ranks this summer) strikes of the QPR method, and we can all see how that has worked so far.

The lust for a big-name signing is also reminiscent of the fake hoops and is not the way Reading have gone about their business, nor found success in the past.

So let's first focus on the admitted interested in Andrey Arshavin, a 31-year-old former Russian international on around £78,000 a week at Arsenal. Arshavin has struggled to break into Arsene Wenger's side recently because of a perceived lack of hunger. He spent the end of last season on loan at Zenit St Petersburg, and his main contribution this season has been as a substitute.

What could convince Arshavin to make the move to the Madejski Stadium? Probably a nice big pay cheque, and with relegation back to the Championship a very serious possibility it is probably not the wisest move to make right now, even if we convinced him to take a 50% pay cut upon relegation.

The signing of Danny Guthrie, a player that has publicly lamented Reading's style of play, has shown that flair players don't necessarily thrive in our team.

Zingarevich's quote also claims that Arshavin is just one of ten players that is under assessment. It is heartening that Reading have begun their research so early, but lessons need to be learned from the influx of summer signings.

Without singling players out it can be said that the new arrivals have enjoyed varying degrees of success, and perhaps the addition of so many, so fast has rocked the Championship winning boat.

McDermott's eagerness to assemble a squad early and forge team spirit is to be admired, but it could have perhaps worked better if more time had been taken over certain signings.

Is Chris Gunter that much better than Shaun Cummings? He hasn't shown himself to be so far and at a reported cost of £2.5m he is expensive competition. Similarly Adrian Mariappa has looked very capable but not massively better than what we already possessed in our squad.

And although Pavel Pogrebnyak has scored some goals since signing, I still feel that in terms of overall balance Noel Hunt and Jason Roberts bring out the best of the team as a whole.

There is little doubt that Reading need to add to the squad in January. But it makes sense to bring in players that will buy into the team ethic and give us something more than we already have.

A defensive leader in the shape of Matthew Upson (although at 33 maybe a couple of years younger), a tenacious midfielder in the mould of Steve Sidwell or Mark Noble, and a goalscoring threat such as Jordan Rhodes or Charlie Austin would be my pick.

What players would you sign for Reading in January - and do you back Zingarevich's lust for a big name or would you prefer lesser lights that fitted into the more traditional 'Reading way'?

Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below...

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