The big winner in Reading's squad has been Michael Hector, who's earned a dream move to potential Premier League champions Chelsea. Building on a solid series of performances last season, the youngster has been snapped up for £4m by Jose Mourinho's side, but remains at Reading on loan for the rest of the season. That represents a massive show of confidence in one of the academy's best prospects of recent years. Hector will be keen to repay the West London side's faith in him during what should be a promotion push this campaign, meaning that Steve Clarke has a highly motivated centre back on the books.
Oliver Norwood and Aaron Tshibola
These two have come out of the summer transfer window very well, but for a starkly different reason to Michael Hector. Whereas the Jamaican makes this list for a transfer that did go through, Messrs Norwood and Tshibola will be thankful for a deal falling through. The deal I'm talking about is Reading's attempt to bring Nathaniel Chalobah back on loan for the 2015/16 season - which fell apart when the Chelsea midfielder opted for a move to Italian side Napoli.
When the rumours first started that Chalobah could be making a return to Berkshire, opinion was divided on whether we actually needed him or not - given how well-stocked that position already is. Norwood and Tshibola are, for me, respectively Reading's best player this season so far and one of our brightest prospects. That's not to downplay the quality of Chalobah of course, who played a key part in Reading's cup run last term. Nonetheless, his absence from the squad gives Norwood and Tshibola room to shine. They'll certainly be pleased that Napoli came in with that loan bid.
Bear with me on this one, because I know it sounds like an odd thing to claim. After all, how can one of Reading's most frustrating players have done well in a transfer window that's seen an abundance of competition arrive for his spot? In recent weeks, the likes of Pablo Hurtado, Lucas Piazon and Ola John — all wingers — have put pen to paper at the Madejski.
But, looking at it another way, they could be the collective spark that gives Robson-Kanu the kick we all know he needs. Apologies for the oft-used cliché, but he's a player of impressive potential if only he finds some form. As Reading fans, we saw that potential for the first time when he was up against arguably better players in Kebe, McAnuff and McCleary. Since then, Robson-Kanu seems to have become a little too comfortable — but now needs to work hard if he's to stay in Steve Clarke's plans. And, with his contract expiring next summer, an impressive 2015/16 is vital if the Welshman is to earn a good move, or even a new deal at Reading.
Poor old Simon Cox must know the script by now - move to a club, wait till Steve Clarke becomes manager, then get pushed to the edge of the squad. It happened to the Irishman at West Brom, and history appears to be repeating itself. Despite not getting too much game time under Clarke, Cox arguably shouldn't feel aggrieved - he's failed to impress since the new gaffer arrived, not scoring since last December.
Nonetheless, there's now too much competition up front for Cox to be in with much chance of a spot in the matchday squad. Steve Clarke can now call on the likes of Matej Vydra, Orlando Sa, Nick Blackman and Dominic Samuel, and Andrija Novakovich's stock has been rising steadily in the youth team. I don't see Simon Cox being anything more than a bit part player this season -— and may end up going out on loan in the near future.
I find it hard to work out how Nick Blackman must be feeling right now. Saturday's 1-3 win at Brentford was a terrific indication of his talent, and the two goals demonstrated both his ambition from range and composure from the penalty spot. Having looked sharp this season with goals at St Andrews and Fratton Park, we all have high hopes that Blackman might finally kick on and prove his doubters wrong.
But deadline day's biggest arrival - namely that of Matej Vydra - is potentially a spanner in the works. The reported loan fee of £2.5m is clear evidence that the Czech isn't here to make up the numbers and sit on the bench. Vydra is a proven goalscorer at this level and should, given the service, challenge for the league's golden boot. Obviously, any promotion seeking side needs a couple of potent strikers, but it's hard to keep several of them happy at the same time. I'd like to think that excellent from from Blackman and Vydra will give Steve Clarke a positive dilemma each week, but I'd also say that the recent arrival will be biggest in his thoughts. If Blackman doesn't keep up his form, Vydra might push him firmly out of the first team.
Where do you think this transfer window leaves the rest of Reading's squad? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below. We don't bite... honest.