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A Fringe Farewell? - Who Could Be Leaving Reading FC This Summer

A point to prove? Or is it too late?
A point to prove? Or is it too late?

Reading have already waved goodbye to a number of players this summer, but with four players signed and more rumoured to be coming in, who'll make way for the new additions and head for the exit door?

Premier League squad rules dictate that you're only allowed 25 players over the age of 21 so unless you want to be paying wages on players who can't play a league game and who may get disgruntled as a result, keeping a tight squad is important from both a financial and morale standpoint.

While it's typical of us as football fans to be overly sentimental and want to give everybody who got us promoted a chance, the fact is some players will inevitably be leaving the club this summer, so I thought I'd take a look at just who might be leaving the Madejski Stadium this summer.

The % chance of leaving is the chance of leaving on a permanent basis.

Mathieu Manset

Sadly for 'The Beast' things haven't really worked out at Reading over the past 18 months. Signed for a fee rumoured to be up to £400,000 Manset was always seen as a bit of a gamble, someone with fantastic technical ability and strength, but with limited stamina and no experience above League Two.

Manset has certainly had his moments, with memorable goals against Barnsley, Bristol City and Cardiff, not to mention two stunners to salvage a point against Millwall. Sadly those moments have been just about all he's managed to conjure up and when Jason Roberts was signed in January, Manset was always looking the odd man out. The Ivory Coast U23 international soon joined Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua on loan but didn't feature a great deal and scored just 1 goal in 9 games before returning to England.

In between all this he was convicted of drink driving around Christmas and that will hardly have gone down well with the club's management, not to mention disappointing the fanbase.

While he's still just 22 it's hard to see Manset getting into the Premier League squad ahead of Roberts, Pogrebnyak, Hunt, Le Fondre and Church and with one year left on his deal there would appear to be little sense on loaning him out, so a permanent move away from the Madejski seems a likely option. I think he'd still command a bit of a fee and the fact he's got a few goals in the Championship coupled with his young age might convince a club to spend £250,000 or so plus a few add-ons.

Chance of leaving = 85%

Michail Antonio

Another player who spent time away on loan last year was winger Michal Antonio. Unlike Manset, Antonio increased his stock greatly while away from the club to the point that Brian McDermott now has a tough decision to make about whether to keep the former Tooting man in Berkshire or try and get a fee from a player in the final year of his deal.


Antonio has enjoyed three great loan spells in League One at Southampton, Colchester and Sheffield Wednesday and Reading have apparently turned down one bid from the Yorkshire side to sign the winger permanently. He's had very limited chances to shine at the Madejski in the past couple of seasons but he's certainly got something about him and I don't think we'd be considering him for the exit if we hadn't won the Championship last season.

However as you may remember we did win the title so the question remains is he going to be Premier League quality next season? For me the question would be no, and with McCleary, McAnuff, Kebe and, Robson-Kanu all above him in the pecking order, it'll be tough for him to even get into the 18-man matchday squad yet alone the starting XI.

Sadly I think this may just be another Simon Cox type of situation where we need to let the player go to fulfil his potential. Antonio could walk for nothing next summer and it makes sense to try and get a decent fee now with a sell-on clause rather than have the double whammy of losing him for nothing and then seeing him go onto better things. Whether he has that top flight potential remains to be seen but I think it would be a good calculated gamble to get some money in for him now.

Chance of leaving 70%

Simon Church

For every Kevin Doyle, Shane Long or Dave Kitson, there has to be a Stuart Lovell or Lee Nogan, a player who might have one great season but just can't quite kick on and fades away a little. Simon Church might well join Lovell and Nogan in the ranks of players who certainly made an impact at Reading and showed potential, but never really had the consistency to make it at a high level.

At 23 Church still has plenty of football left in him but after failing to establish himself as a first choice striker despite limited competition last year, Church might just have run out of chances at the Madejski Stadium. 12 goals in 42 games in 2009/10 and a regular place in the Wales squad has demonstrated that he can score goals at a decent level but a return of just 12 goals in the last two years has left fans wondering whether Church has quite what it takes to make it.

Noel Hunt, Adam Le Fondre, Jason Roberts and now Pavel Pogrebnyak have all jumped ahead of Churchy in the queue so the Welshman will find chances hard to come by next season even if Reading don't sign another striker. I don't think it's quite time to totally write off the striker but he certainly needs a run of games to get his confidence back and that's something he's unlikely to get at Reading. I doubt he'll be forced out and he doesn't seem the type to kick-off but if he isn't in the squad in the opening couple of games I can see him heading for the exit door as a Championship side takes a gamble.

Chance of leaving 60%

Brynjar Gunnarsson

Brynaldo is the only regular member of the 2005/06 squad still at the club and it was great to see him get another medal at the end of last season. Despite how much we all love him, it was painfully obvious in his few brief cameos last year that age has finally caught up with the Icelandic midfielder, who turns 37 in October.

On the positive side he's still capable of being a stopgap at fullback and centreback while he's got Premier League experience and a good dressing room presence so you can understand why Reading offered him a new deal at the end of the year. To my knowledge Bryn hasn't actually signed it yet, which makes me wonder whether Bryn wants one last crack at playing every week at a decent level before moving into coaching.

From a sentimental and slightly selfish point of view I want him to stay at the club and help bring through the next generation but I'd understand if he wants a final crack as a regular player.

Chance of leaving 40%

Alex McCarthy/Mikkel Andersen

I'm going to include both of these together because I think the time might have come for one of them to move to get regular fist team football without the hassle of continuous loan moves.

22 year-old McCarthy has had more of a look in at the club, having featured several times at the end of the 2010/11 season, not to mention two loan spells to Championship sides last season.

23-year-old Andersen meanwhile hasn't made a single appearance at the club despite signing over five years ago and hasn't played a single game of first team football since a loan spell at Bristol Rovers two seasons ago. 2011 saw Andersen make a great impression at the UEFA U21 tournament for Denmark and he may well want to move on to further his international ambitions.

I can't say I'd love either leaving, but with Federici still young and entrenched in the number 1 position you can't imagine all three of them can be kept happy for too much longer. If I had to put my money on one of them leaving it would probably be Andersen, but both signed new deals around Christmas time so both appear happy to fight it out over the coming months. If they do both stay at the club then 1 is certain to go out on loan, but a decent bid for either one of them might just see them leave the Madejski on a permanent basis.

Chance of leaving = 35%

Joseph Mills

It's hard not to feel a little sorry for Mills who was getting better game by game until he was injured in November. From there Ian Harte made the left back position his own and niggling knocks kept Mills from ever really making a big challenge for the shirt again. Mills signed a new deal earlier this year but with our promotion and Ian Harte's age I can certainly see Brian McDermott dipping into the market to get a left-back with a bit of top level experience. Mills has age on his side and does offer something from set pieces so I don't think Reading will be in a hurry to shift him on but if someone new does come in and a club made a bid to Mills promising him the left back position week in week out, Joe might be tempted to go.

Chance of leaving = 25%

Jay Tabb

I love Jay Tabb. (in a totally football related way..) Steve Coppell's final signing at the football club has been a loyal servant for the last three years and is one player that you absolutely want at a football club in the Championship. The problem is once again not so much that Tabb's a bad player but whether he's quite got enough to persuade the club to not sign another central midfielder.

At the moment Tabb would figure to be fourth choice behind Karacan, Leigertwood and Guthrie so right now he's got a role in the squad and his versatility and ability to play wide or at full-back is certainly something that's welcome when you've got a 7 man bench and limited squad numbers.

However if Brian McDermott dips into the market again to sign another midfielder, it might just be Tabb who has to make way, if not for the club's benefit than for his own. At 28, Tabb knows that a move this year or next would still probably get him a 2 or 3 year deal but the longer he stays a reserve at Reading, the less his chance of getting a move to play regular first team football.

So while I'm 100% happy and would love to see Jay Tabb get his shot at the big time, football is ruthless business and while I wouldn't love the decision, I could see a scenario where Tabb moves on this summer. I'd consider a loan move more likely as you always need extra cover, but a permanent move away can't be ruled out either.

Chance of leaving 25%

Hal Robson-Kanu

Robson-Kanu remains a bit of an enigma in that he seems to do so well coming on as a sub but has just looked a little lost as a starter. Robson-Kanu was given a shot as a striker as well as a right and left winger but never really made any place his own last year. He scored some key goals against Peterborough and Millwall but generally didn't seem to make too much of an impact and he'll be frustrated that he didn't quite grasp his opportunity when he got it.


A new contract for Jimmy Kebe, the signing of McCleary and the fact that McAnuff is captain will make starting opportunities harder to come by next year for the Welsh international but he's proved that he is capable of putting in a good ball and taking a goal well when a chance comes his way. He's still very young and can play on either flank so I'd bank on him staying but should another top quality winger become available then Robson-Kanu might just be the odd one out.

Chance of leaving 20%

Anybody Else

Everyone has a price and despite our new investment if Manchester City decided they wanted Federici for £10m then I can't imagine us turning it down but generally I can't think any other squad regular would be nudged out of the door by Brian or the board.

The only scenario might be with one or two worried about their first team prospects. Jason Roberts isn't getting any younger and after coming to Reading to be a regular might not be too happy if Pogrebnyak becomes the main man, especially when he's only got 1 year left on his deal right now. Likewise, Noel Hunt has just one year to go on his deal but as someone that's worked so hard to get to the Premier League I don't think Noel's going to be in any hurry to leave, nor would we be in a hurry to sell.

I fully expect a number of younger players to go out on loan but we'll try and cover them another time. Meanwhile who do you think might go and if you were making the decisions is there anyone you'd want to move out to make way for a new player?

Let us know your thoughts below.