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Would Reading FC Miss Chris Gunter?

With transfer speculation surrounding Reading full-back Chris Gunter - Wimb looks at how hard, or easy it might be to replace the Wales defender.

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Reading will miss his reliability right?

Absolutely. Chris Gunter is a player who's been dependable and reliable at Championship level for the past three seasons, taking part in 126 of 138 league games in the last three campaigns. The Wales right-back has also shown he can do a solid job at left-back and can even fill in at the centre of defence when needed. Discipline wise he's also got a pretty good record with just one red card in his Reading career and just 17 bookings in a total of 166 games for the club.

It's not just his ability to start games that's been important to Reading managers but the fact that Gunter can be relied upon to finish them strongly as well. The right-back has been subbed off just FOUR times in a league game and three of those came during last season.

He's also been hailed as a good guy off the pitch and we've never had as much as rumblings of Gunter creating trouble in the dressing room, despite plenty of big egos around the club.

And how about that engine eh?

I lost count of the number of times pundits, analysts and columnists praised Gunter's 'engine' during this summer's European Championship but it was a fair comment given his remarkable drive throughout 90+ minutes of action. We've seen as much during his Reading career and that's a big part of the reason why he's finished so many games. The man just never gives up and will give you everything he's got until the final whistle. Fitness wise he might just be the best full-back we've had at the football club and that's a trait that's so incredibly valuable if you're involved in narrow games trying to hold on to leads.

I'll give you that Wimb but he's not been so great in the final third has he?

No anonymous voice, he really hasn't, as in 144 league appearances he's not found the net once. Not that such stats should be used to bash a full-back, as after all Graeme Murty, a man many consider our finest right-back famously only managed two goals during more than a decade at the club.

Yet what has been disappointing for a man who's got such engine and drive is a woeful return on the assists front. In his career at Reading, Gunter has only provided a league assist on five occasions, or once every 30 odd games. For someone who seems to be at the opposition byline as often as he is, that's a shocking return.

But he's not been part of a great defence has he?

Well yes and no.

Sure the lineup in our Premier League season wasn't up to much but he got to play in a defence that had quality keepers in Adam Federici and Alex McCarthy behind him for two Championship seasons and had centre-backs the calibre of Paul McShane, Anton Ferdinand, Alex Pearce and Sean Morrison alongside him on plenty of occasions also. His opposite full-back has been a bit of a struggle with Jordan Obita not quite living up to his early potential but when you consider Gunter's own qualities, Reading should have had a much better defensive record than we posted over the past few campaigns.

It's hard to argue that Gunter himself has been the major problem but the record shows that he's not making much of a positive difference either.

Is the rumoured £1m fee a good deal for Reading?

Absolutely because Gunter could have and from a selfish stand point probably SHOULD have walked away for absolutely nothing this summer. The Welshman could have quite easily followed the lead of Hal Robson-Kanu and just wound down his contract safe in the knowledge that his reputation for club and country would land him a pretty decent gig, but instead Gunter penned a new short-term deal to stay at the Mad Stad back in January which guaranteed the club a transfer fee if he were to move on in the next year.

Yes that contract obviously gave him another season of guaranteed income but let's not undersell what a refreshingly loyal and decent gesture it was for Gunter to agree to a new deal. In these circumstances, Reading will not only shed his contract but also pick up some cash that they can use to find a replacement, something Mr HRK, a Reading Academy graduate no less, didn't bother to do.

Does it represent market value? I'd say no because he's not depreciated £1m in value over the last four seasons, especially with some of the cash being splashed this summer, yet once again it's better to get something than nothing.

So will Reading miss him?

I think any club would be happy to have Chris Gunter on their books but can Reading find a more dynamic player? Yes.

If this team was full of confidence and flying like the Wales side, Gunter is a valuable and steady cog that you know what you're going to get. What Chris Gunter isn't, is the type of player that's going to give you a lift or produce a moment of magic to keep you in, or win you a game.

His attacking output just isn't there and that's probably why he's been a Reading player for so long and never quite made the grade at Spurs. Much like Robson-Kanu, Reading needed Gunter to lead the team in tough times but he didn't handle the responsibility of captain well (on the pitch anyway) and he's never seemed to be a particularly galvanising player throughout his time here.

Reading might now turn to a guy who can produce more in the final third but doesn't have quite that engine or reliability as Gunter. Yet in a young, hungry team looking to operate in a new system, it's the perfect chance to gamble on something new.

As I said, any team would love to have such a steady, dependable defender as Gunter on their books but it's time for both player and club to part on good terms and find something fresh.

So if you do end up leaving, all the best Chris and thanks.