It all started with a bit of good old fashioned investigative journalism...
And now it's been officially confirmed - Reading have signed their third player of the transfer window on a three-year deal. After the arrivals of striker Orlando Sa from Legia Warsaw and midfielder Stephen Quinn on a free transfer from Hull City, Steve Clarke has added a centre-back to the squad and it's another out-of-contract Tiger.
29-year-old Paul McShane made 20 appearances for Hull in the Premier League last season but couldn't prevent them being relegated. And though Quinn was offered a new deal at the KC Stadium which he turned down, McShane was deemed surplus to requirements and given a free transfer.
In total, McShane made 119 League appearances during seven seasons with the Tigers. Whilst he wasn't always first choice on Humberside, he was certainly in demand and also had loan spells at Barnsley and Crystal Palace whilst both were in the Championship.
McShane has also been a regular for the Republic of Ireland national team, winning 32 caps. The most recent of those came in that woefully soporific friendly at the Aviva Stadium between Ireland and England, which (of course) ended 0-0. The new Reading signing came on after 72 minutes and generally gave a good account of himself.
Of course, one of his fellow bench-warmers that day was ex-Royal, new-Ram Alex Pearce, who for some reason was wearing the number 10 shirt (don't get me started on shirt numbers and positions...). Centre-back was an area of priority for Steve Clarke as with the departure of Pearce, Reading had only Michael Hector, youngster Jake Cooper and injury worry Anton Ferdinand in terms of senior centre-halves at the club. With the addition of McShane, who can also play at full-back if pushed, Clarke might be happy to leave the back line as is and press ahead with other positional needs *cough* goalkeeper *cough*.
It would seem as though we're getting a consistent Championship-level defender in McShane, and at the age of 29 he certainly has a few more years left in him. Whilst the signings so far and the other rumours swirling around aren't those of "typical" Reading purchases, I've no doubt that Steve Clarke knows what he wants and is happy to do things his way.
We'll be getting the Hull view on both McShane and Quinn for you so stay tuned to The Tilehurst End in the coming days!