Brian McDermott has today given his weekly press conference, ahead of Saturday's cup match against Walsall. However, high on the agenda were not only transfer matters, but also the future of Chris Gunter, whose contract at Reading runs out this summer. Speaking about those topics, McDermott gave some very revealing information.
Brian says he wants to keep Gunter. "It would be nice to come to an agreement." He says he wants two good right-backs. #readingfc— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) January 28, 2016
BM confirmed he has spoken to Chris Gunter who says he wants to sign a new contract with #readingfc so fingers crossed on that one— Anthony Smith (@Smudgersport) January 28, 2016
That's certainly encouraging news, with Chris Gunter highly regarded by many fans. The Welshman has been at the Madejski Stadium since Brian McDermott himself signed him back in 2012, and has been an ever present in the back four under successive managers.
BM confirmed Hurtado will go to Portugal on loan. Also confirmed he hopes to get 'one or two' more signings in before Monday deadline— Anthony Smith (@Smudgersport) January 28, 2016
First of all, Paolo Hurtado. The Peruvian has so far endured a pretty torrid spell in Berkshire, starting just one game so far, and often not getting into the matchday squad. With that in mind, a loan spell out of the club to get him some game time - in a country that he's used to - makes sense for all concerned. This comes after recent news that Hurtado was indeed in talks to return to Portugal.
BM: I had to make a call on Orlando Sa. We're in talks with another striker now so we'll see. #readingfc— Anthony Smith (@Smudgersport) January 28, 2016
Another player that hardly set the league on fire was Orlando Sa, who this week signed for Maccabi Tel Aviv. After having arrived from Legia Warsaw in the summer, Sa scored in just three games - one goal each against Brentford and Fulham, plus a hat trick against Ipswich. Clearly, Brian McDermott didn't see the Portuguese striker fitting in to his plans, making a departure inevitable.
Very interesting replies from Brian on my Rakels questioning. Confirms he is set to arrive and he is an owners signing. #readingfc— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) January 28, 2016
Here's where things get really interesting. This is confirmation that the impending signing of Deniss Rakels, who is reportedly set to arrive from Cracovia in Poland, is not one driven by McDermott himself. The phrase 'owner's signing' is a very loaded term - it immediately brings to mind the signing of Royston Drenthe under Anton Zingarevich - the Dutchman being a mighty strain on the club's resources.
However, I'm far less concerned about the arrival of Deniss Rakels. In contrast to the Drenthe example, Rakels would cost less than £400,000 in transfer fee, and presumably not much in wages, what with him currently plying his trade in Poland. Indeed, I take the phrase 'owner's signing' in this case to mean something more along the lines of the Thais wanting Reading to scour foreign markets for cheap gambles that may or may not play out well. And, at roughly the same price we paid for Adam Le Fondre, Rakels looks like the epitome of a cheap gamble.
Stay tuned for The Tilehurst End for all the news as it comes in, including the imminent arrival of Deniss Rakels. But what do you make of what Brian McDermott said today? Leave us a comment below or tweet us @TheTilehurstEnd.