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Reading FC - Player Contracts

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Scott Davies

It's a key time of the season for many players, whilst some are gearing up for the play-offs, others are returning from loan spells, going off on holiday or in some cases, looking for a new contract.

Two players left the club yesterday at the end of their current deals, but who will be next? Reading currently have 7 players out of contract at the end of this season (including 2 loan players), and those players will have their futures decided very soon.

Below, we'll be looking at what has already happened and what might take place in the coming weeks.

Already Gone

Scott Davies yesterday announced on his Twitter that he had been released by the Royals as his contract reached an end. Best known for a goal from a free-kick against Chelsea in preseason last year, despite a promising early career Scott has found first-team chances difficult at the Madejski and after a series of loan spells and a couple of stints on the Reading bench this season, the club has decided to let him go following the expiration of his two-year-deal.

Later on Monday, Julian Kelly was announced to have left along with Davies. It was a disappointing end to what looked a promising Reading career for the young full-back. He made a number of appearances during the 2008/09 season under Steve Coppell, including a very important 1-0 win over Wolves. From there on though it was a real struggle with injuries. He was ruled out for most of last season, only appearing in the 2-1 Carling Cup defeat to Barnsley, and then only made one appearance for the Royals this campaign, again in the Carling Cup, again a defeat, this time to Northampton. He spent some of this season at Lincoln, so the Imps may be the next destination for Julian

Ivar Ingimarsson and Brynjar Gunnarsson

The Icelandic duo of Ivar and Brynjar are the two of the longest-serving players at the club. With great experience they have served well this season as well as previous, however you do feel that age may be catching up with them. They were both offered one-year deals at the end of last season but another year on, they can't be certain of having the same this season.
In my opinion, I feel it is time for them both to go. While they have been great servants to the club, I think that it's time to allow younger players to be given the chance to stake their claim.
Ingimarsson has looked shaky when in defence this season, and has lost his place recently to Mills, Pearce and Zurab. With Sean Morrison coming through as well as possibly young Jack Mills and Michael Hector, I would imagine opportunities would be limited next season.
Gunnarsson has had a good season despite rarely featuring. He has been used as a utility player been called upon in important games such as games against Everton and Manchester City in the Cup and has played in a variety of positions across the back four and in midfield. He also came on in place of Leigertwood against Derby on Saturday, getting an assist with a super sliding tackle. If I was to keep one of the Icelanders I would choose Bryn, as he has shown he is still capable of putting in solid performances even at 35.

Ethan Gage and Erik Opsahl

Reading signed the North American duo of Gage and Opsahl in January this year. Since joining the Royals, Gage has featured in a number of reserve games as well as leading his Canada Under-20 side in the CONCACAF Under-20 tournament. Opsahl however has been unlucky with injuries while training the Academy this season, and is yet to make an impact at senior or international level like Gage. You can read an interview with the American here, as well as a feature about the Canadian Gage here.
When both players joined they signed a half-year contract with the option of the club extending it. So will that option be taken up?
I imagine so. Both players seem to have done well since arriving from North America and sound like decent prospects. A new deal plus possibly some loan moves next season could help their development, so I feel that should be the case. The option of extending a deal is never a certainty, with Gunnar Thorvaldsson having a similar contract with Reading (see the final quote). However, with the potential of these two it looks likely they will both join for another couple of seasons. I saw them both during the Lap of Honour against Derby, and both seemed to be fitting in well with the current squad.
Here's hoping for a good future with these two.

Mikele Leigertwood and Zurab Khizanishvilli

Unlike the above players, these two are out of Reading's hands. Zurab and Mikele are both currently on loan to Berkshire, with the deals ending on 31st May.
However, Zurab looks the most likely to stay, with his contract at parent club Blackburn expiring this summer. If the Royals can afford the Georgian's wages, there's no doubt he would want to stay with Reading. It'll just come down to the finances.
Leigertwood on the other hand is still contracted until 2012, so it would take a bid from the Royals if they are to get the Antiguan back next season. Mikele has stated he would like to make the permanent move to the Madejski, but with QPR having just been promoted to the Premier League, will the lure of top-flight football be too much for Mikele if we stay down?
I would definitely sign both up, but I do not know the clubs current financial state. Zurab would be on high wages while Mikele may cost a seven-figure sum, something the Royals haven't paid much over the years. If we are promoted, these two would be a certainty, however if we are playing Championship football next year, it may be tough to get them both.

Others

Reading will also be offering contracts and releasing a number of Academy players at the end of the season ast they reach the professional age. Academy contracts are not published publicly but you can expect to see pro deals offered to the likes of Harry Harding, Dean Santangelo, Angus MacDonald amongst others. Lawson D'Ath signed his contract earlier this season. It is also unknown how long the contracts are of the Academy players who signed new deals last summer (Jake Taylor, Abdulai Bell-Baggie, Michael Hector, Simon Locke, Jack Mills, James Rowe and Jacob Walcott), so of some of them could be on one-year contracts and could be leaving this season.
Finally, David Mooney is expected to leave with his three-year deal ending. It seems certain that it will not be renewed and several clubs are said to be interested. It is surprising however that he was not released yesterday along with Davies and Kelly, and I have to say I'm not sure why. He is back from Colchester and unless McDermott wants him as part of the play-off squad you'd of thought he'd of been released.