This is a Reading squad in transition and while we've still got a reasonable chance of mixing it with the top six, the likelihood is that this team is a stepping stone for bigger things to come. With that being said, we can expect a fair bit of player trading over the next 12 months, but with Premier League parachute payments ending in June, we're likely going to need to sell before we can buy. With that in mind, I thought I'd take a look at how much Jaap Stam could realistically expect to earn from the sale of established squad members, with transfermarkt.co.uk providing a little help.
Ali Al-Habsi - Transfermarkt value (TMV) £425k, Wimb value: £200k
It's not that I think Al-Habsi is worthless, far from it as the keeper has been one of our most consistent performers in 2016, but I can't see any club stumping up any significant money to pay for him. The Oman keeper turns 35 in December and his contract ends in the summer so even if a top team did want him as a back-up option this January I think you'd be a looking at a token couple of thousand and little else.
Anssi Jaakkola - TMV: £340k, Wimb: £500k
Of all of Stam's summer signings, I think Jaakkola could be the sleeper hit of the bunch. While only playing cup ties so far, he's barely put a foot wrong and has looked confident between the sticks. If Al-Habsi suffered a big injury tomorrow I wouldn't have any worries about Anssi stepping in and at 29, he's still got time to get even better. I think the transfermarkt valuation is about right for now but if he gets a run of Championship games that could rise very quickly.
Jonathan Bond - TMV: £425k, Wimb: £300k
Hard to give Bond a high value considering he's not an automatic first choice for a League One side right now. At 23 he's got bags of potential but Reading paid a reported £425k for the stopper from Watford when his potential and stock was much higher 15 months ago.
TMV Total: £1.275m - Wimb Total: £1m
Chris Gunter - TMV: £2.13m, Wimb: £2m
Again, I think TM have got this pretty right as it's hard to see Reading giving away an established international on the cheap. Summer rumours swirled around a reported £1.2m release clause in his new deal but if that was a fact, I can't believe nobody took a punt on that IF Gunter wanted to leave. So throwing that out of the mix I think that Stam should still be expecting roughly the same fee the club paid for the right-back in 2012.
Tennai Watson - TMV: NA, Wimb - £500k
A player with bags of potential who at 19 already looks comfortable at Championship level. Hard to put a value on Watson right now but based on his age and potential I think you'd be looking at a solid £500k as a minimum. Then again, Julian Kelly looked OK at Championship level and look how his career took a nosedive...
Jordan Obita - TMV: £2.13, Wimb - £1m
He's still 22 but I think Obita's at his lowest value since bursting onto the scene four years ago. He's been far from awful but he's not taken any significant strides forward ability wise in those four years and you'd expect this to be the age he really makes notable progression. TM gives Obita a £2.13m price tag but it's tricky to see a club paying that for a man who's in a 50/50 battle with Tyler Blackett for a full-back spot. His age and potential still give him worth though, and I wouldn't take less than a million.
Tyler Blackett - TMV: £850k, Wimb: £1m
Blackett is actually six months younger than Obita but his failure on loan at Celtic clearly hurt his market value to the point where Reading could swoop on a permanent basis. TM suggests his move cost Reading £1.5m, yet bizarrely his value is already half of that on the same website. I think a sale right now would net around a million but a steady run in the team until Christmas could easily double it.
Jake Cooper - TMV: £300k, Wimb: £900k
It's been a dire start to the season for Cooper, who's seen Blackett, Liam Moore, Danzell Gravenberch all brought in and Joey van den Berg and George Evans picked ahead of him for a defensive slot. The good news for big Jake is that at 21 he's got years to prove himself and develop as a centre-half and that working under Stam on the training ground will help him immensely. It's not long since plausible rumours swirled of a move to Premier League Stoke and Bournemouth so I can't go along with TM's lowly £300k valuation. The England U20 defender might be raw but I think you'd be foolish to take much less than a million for him.
Liam Moore - TMV: £1.28m, Wimb: £2m
Reading paid a reported million pounds for the defender less than two months ago but his performances will have already seen that value double in my estimation. After limited game time there may have been some market uncertainty about the 23-year-old but he's already made such a difference to Reading's defensive unit that his stock is certain to have risen.
Paul McShane - TMV: £850k, Wimb: £1.5m
McShane is a great player for any club at this level and Reading would be foolish to let the club Captain go without a significant fight. He's only 30, is an established, experienced presence and yet at only 30, has plenty of miles left on the clock. If Matt Mills was a £5m defender in 2011, this guy can't be less than a seven-figure fee.
Danzell Gravenberch - TMV: £213k, Wimb £200k
The Dutchman hasn't looked awful but we haven't seen much to suggest he should be in a Championship team on a regular basis. I think TMV have got this one about right.
Joey van den Berg - TMV: £1.28m, Wimb £1m
I'm including him among the defenders simply as that's where Stam seems to be deploying him most. For a free transfer, Joey has been a great pickup although his unpredictability on the pitch makes giving him a value equally tricky. TM puts his worth at £1.28m but I'm not sure he's done so much for Reading that he'd earn much above seven figures, especially with the player hitting 31 in February and still unproven in England.
TMV Total: £9.533m* - Wimb Total: £9.1m
(as TM haven't given a value to Watson, Wimb's value has been used)
So that's how I value the goalkeepers and defenders right now but what say you Tilehurst Enders? Am I undervaluing or over-valuing them? Let us know in the comments section and we'll get into the midfield and forwards a little later this week.