Brian McDermott brought in three new players in the transfer window, with the first one to arrive being midfielder George Evans from Manchester City. The 21 year old spent the first half of the season on loan at Walsall, and arrived at the Madjeski Stadium on a three and a half year deal. The fee was as usual undisclosed but multiple sources are reporting it as a free transfer with add-ons to come down the road. Evans made his debut against Sheffield Wednesday, playing just over an hour of football before being substituted. Is he the long term replacement for Oliver Norwood and Danny Williams?
The day after Evans was announced, striker Yann Kermorgant signed from Bournemouth on an 18 month deal - also for an undisclosed fee. The 34 year old scored 15 goals for the Cherries last season to help them earn promotion, so there's high hopes for him in Berkshire despite his age. The Frenchman made his debut against Wednesday as well, coming on at half-time. Can he have the same impact as other ageing strikers Jason Roberts and Jimmy Quinn?
The third and final signing that the Royals made in January was to bring in another striker, Deniss Rakels from Polish side Cracovia. He has 15 caps for Latvia, and arrives at the club for a fee of around £400,000 on a two and a half year deal. The 23 year old is currently awaiting international clearance to make his debut - have Reading unearthed a hidden gem?
There was one other new arrival, and that was the capture Bosnia and Herzegovina U17 international Seid Behram. Don't expect to see much of the winger any time soon though!
With 11 goals in the first half of the season, Nick Blackman was always going to attract interest in January, and attract interest he did. Sheffield Wednesday were reportedly targeting the forward, but it was Derby County who signed the 26 year old for what is believed to be about £3 million. However, Blackman is yet to score for the Rams who haven't won a league game since his arrival. *silently chuckles*
Youngster Jake Taylor also departed Berkshire last month, having been a Royal since the age of eight. The 24 year old was snapped up by League Two side Exeter City for free, after finding first team opportunities at the Madjeski Stadium hard to come by. He spent the first half of the campaign on loan in Scotland with Motherwell, and ended is time at the club with three goals in 36 games.
Despite only joining Reading last summer, Orlando Sa also left in January, joining Israeli champions Maccabi Tel Aviv for an undisclosed fee. The one time Portuguese international appeared to have fallen out of favour under Brian McDermott, who preferred Simon Cox, similarly frozen out, instead of the striker. The best memory Sa left us with was his hat-trick in the 5-1 thrashing of Ipswich, but he was never the same after getting sent off in the following game against Derby. In 21 appearances for Reading, he scored five goals in total.
Another summer signing, Paolo Hurtado departed on loan to Portuguese side Vitoria de Guimaraes until June after making just one start for the Royals. Youngsters Craig Tanner and Dominic Samuel extended their loans until the end of the season at Plymouth Argyle and Gillingham respectively, whilst Dom Hyam also secured a temporary switch to Dagenham & Redbridge.
The Rumours That Didn't Happen
As ever, plenty of players were linked with a switch to the Madjeski Stadium throughout January. Walsall striker Tom Bradshaw and Norwich City defender Steven Whittaker were the rumours that popped up the most often. There were a lot of forwards reportedly on the club's radar, including Peterborough's Conor Washington who ended up going to QPR, Gillingham's Bradley Dack and Arsenal's Alex Iwobi. There was even talk of loan moves for former players Steve Sidwell and Alex Pearce. Deadline day saw Crystal Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni rumoured to be on the move. One deal that could still happen is the signing of Javier Matilla, who is a free agent and currently on trial in Berkshire.
Players that were linked with a move out of the club included Welsh international Chris Gunter who is out of contract in the summer. Jake Cooper attracted Premier League interest from West Ham United, as did Danny Williams who was linked with Swansea City on deadline day.
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