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Tilehurst End Debate: Contract Renewals

Eleven players who have made first team appearances for Reading FC have contracts that end this summer. Here's our verdict on which players we would like to stay and a chance for you to have your say too.

Michael Steele/Getty Images

This summer is shaping up to see one of the highest turnover of players ever witnessed at the Madejski Stadium. Probably close to half the current wage bill is being paid to players who at the moment have no contract with the Royals beyond June.

This offers not only the club great potential to lower the wage bill but also a chance for Steve Clarke to build his own squad. Which players should be offered new contacts is likely to cause much debate among Reading fans so we at The Tilehurst End thought we would have our say and give you an opportunity to give your verdict on each player.

Before we begin we should explain a few omissions. We decided to only comment on players who have made three or more first team appearances. This rules out recent signings Zat Knight and Jure Travner as well as lots of young players, including Dominic Samuel (though surely there isn't a Reading fan who wouldn't want the club to renew his contract). We have also presumed that Danny Guthrie's loan move to Fulham means we have seen the end of his time at Reading.

You will also notice that our editor Wimb has given his verdict on each player but has not made any comments. This is a huge shame because it would be interesting to know why he does not want to renew Adam Federici's contract. Whether this was a cleverly thought out decision or a 6am stag party mistaken text we'll never know! Let's just hope he enjoyed himself.

Mikkel Andersen

VERDICT Yes No No No Yes Yes
Bucks (Yes)

Mikkel Andersen is a more than capable 'keeper at this level. It's odd to think that, before Alex McCarthy got his big break, we were all assuming that the Dane would be Adam Federici's natural successor. Earlier this season, he looked comfortable between the sticks, so it wouldn't be a risky decision to give him a new contract. Were Fedders to leave, we'd have a safe pair of gloves in Mikkel Andersen.

Hoops (No)

He's been at the club too long without making an impact for me to feel confident about giving him a renewal. Sure, he's had a few cup games and not looked out of place, but he's 26 years old and during his previous loan spell at Randers in the Danish first division he ended the season on the bench—not exactly awe-inspiring. He's one of those players I think would be no huge loss, no matter what happens.

Ryan Edwards

VERDICT No No No No Yes No
Will (Yes)

He'll be on low wages so it can't hurt to give him another year. Ryan Mason at Spurs is a perfect example of how sometimes it pays to keep youngsters and give them a chance to develop. There was nothing between him and Jordan Obita when I saw them both play for the Under 18s in the FA Youth Cup, but that was when he was a winger. Since then he's moved inside which I'm not sure has benefited him.

Jonny (No)

Edwards is still only 21 and has impressed for the Australian Under 23 team recently, helping them get closer to the Olympics in 2016. But with the squad well stocked in the midfield position (even with the contracts that are running out), it might be best to let him establish himself elsewhere.

There's a chance that Edwards needs a fresh start, and players like Michail Antonio, James Henry and Nathan Tyson have forged decent careers after leaving the Royals at an early age. And with his career ahead of him, it could be beneficial for both sides to let Edwards find regular playing time to further his career.

Adam Federici

VERDICT Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Bucks (Yes)

Despite his presumably high wages, it's a no brainer to renew his contract if we can. A good goalie wins you precious points throughout a campaign, and Fedders has already proved that's the case. He was one of the key players in the 2011/12 title winning season, and we'd probably be lower down the table right now if he hadn't had his game on like he has. As has been said before, he's one of the best goalies in this division, and has been for a while now.

Jem Karacan

VERDICT Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hoops (Yes)

As I've said here previously, I think Jem Karacan epitomises the club. Hard working, dedicated, aggressive, passionate, energetic with a twist of quality thrown in. Sure, he's had injury problems but I think to let his contract run out just because he's been injured is very harsh, especially considering he was a key component of our midfield engine room when he was fit. I'd be wary of tying him down to a long-term deal on high wages, but if he can prove his fitness in the short-term then I see no problem with him renewing.

Stephen Kelly

VERDICT No No Yes No No No
Jonny (Yes)

...if he accepts a lower wage than he's on at the moment. Kelly is only 31 and still has a couple of years at this level ahead of him - he certainly hasn't been a weak link when thrust into the side due to injury. We certainly have promising players coming through the Academy but I would worry about throwing them in next year, rather than a slower transition into the side. And with only two senior full-backs at the club next year (one of whom - Jordan Obita - doesn't see himself as a full-back long term), I would at least attempt to bring back Kelly to cover the seniors and mentor the next generation.

Marc (No)

With the summer set to be the biggest phase of culling the ridiculous Zingarevich contracts, Kelly must go as part of this. Getting on for age, but no doubt able to do a job at Championship level (where he'll get snapped up very quickly), one must remember we have a dependable play-every-minute full-back in Chris Gunter. There's no sense in the Irishman setting up shop on the bench with his prospective wages.

Alex Pearce

VERDICT No Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Bucks (No)

Just not consistent enough. If I was judging Pearce at his best this season, or even his form in 2013/14, I'd have backed a contract renewal. But, having been one of our best players alongside Kasparss Gorkss three years ago, he's been shaky ever since. The passing football experiment under Nigel Adkins didn't do him any good. Although he's been better recently, it's clear that he's not going to get back to his best on a regular basis.

Hoops (Yes)

Pearce is slow. Pearce can't pass. Pearce still fails to convince, but having said that I'm not sure you'll find a much better defender at Championship level on the cheap. He's not a complicated defender, but the simple stuff he does well. Throw in the fact that he's got a burgeoning relationship with Michael Hector that looks like it has a good blend of pacey ball-player and rocky hard-man. He's 26 and should—should—be entering his prime years.

Jonny (Yes)

Pearce is what he is - a very good Championship defender. Jake Cooper might be coming through, and Michael Hector has shown himself to be a good centre-back at this level, but Pearce has the pedigree and experience which is key to winning in this division.

Whilst the wages will probably be a problem (as they will be with others whose contracts expire this June), I think Pearce's is one of the most important to renew in terms of squad depth and ease of replacing him. He's come through the Academy, had spells as Royals captain, and won our Player Of The Season in 2011-12 - a great example to the Academy of what can be achieved at this club.

Marc (No)

For an academy-grown captain, Pearce's time in Berkshire has become quite complex. First, as with Kelly, he is easily one of our top earners and cash is scarce. Also, in this division a decent centre-back can easily be found and organised by a good manager, which I believe we have.

But, what's more is that I feel that Pearce has been on a downward slope since winning the Player of the Season in 2011. Since then he's been vulnerable to errors, inconsistent in selection and in his apparent commitment to the club. What's more, he's being outshone by the true future Premier League centre-back of Reading FC: Michael Hector. Time to let Pearce go.

Will (Yes)

If Anton Ferdinand had played more than 45 minutes for Reading then I think there's a good chance Pearce would have struggled for game time this season. However, with Ferdinand seemingly permanently crocked Pearce is as good as experienced Championship centre back that a lower table side can get. He's shown before that he can be part of a league winning defence and is young enough for that to not be a flash in the pan.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni

Marc (No)

To win promotion a squad does need experience, but you also need a large supply of young and hungry players. You can joke about the Nigerian being both, the latter in a variety of manners, but he's had his day so must move on. Not only had he already taken the career-lengthening pay-cheque move to Asia at the tender age of 29, residing in football's retirement home for three years prior to joining one of the most frenetic leagues in football, he's also only scored once. Yakub-out.


The Results

Only two players drew a consensus from our editors: Jem Karacan and Yakubu. It's no real surprise that there was a unanimous desire to see the club captain get a new contract. Despite his crucial winner against Derby in the cup, Yakubu has failed to make the case for a long term contract according to the editors. There was only minor disagreements on the futures of Ryan Edwards, Adam Federici and Stephen Kelly.

The two players whose futures were most contested were Mikkel Andersen and Alex Pearce. At 26, and with his first child on the way, the big Dane may feel it is time to seek a club which can guarantee him the number one spot. Pearce is probably the most divisive of the players whose contracts are coming to an end. Some fans love his passion and loyalty. Others think he'd be easily replaceable. What do you think?

Mikkel Andersen 3 3
Ryan Edwards 1 5
Adam Federici 5 1
Jem Karacan 6 0
Stephen Kelly 1 5
Alex Pearce 4 2
Yakubu Aiyegbeni 0 6


Your Verdict

So you've seen what we think. Now it's your turn to give your verdict on each player. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Here are the results so far.