Reading FC today announced that Dutch defender Danzell Gravenberch has agreed to join the club. The 22-year-old has signed a three year contract.
Gravenberch had been on trial with the club at the end of last season and joins from Eerste Divisie side FC Dordrecht.
Manager Brian McDermott muttered the usual new signing pleasantries, saying:
"I’m really pleased to have Danzell on board. He was first brought to our attention by Brian Tevreden, our new Technical Director, who spoke highly of him having worked with him previously.
"We brought Danzell in for a few days last month, he trained and played with us - and he is a player capable of playing in various positions, with an awful lot of potential. I’m delighted to have secured his services so early in the summer."
In his own interview with the club, Gravenberch described himself as a centre back who "can also play in defensive midfield".
Gravenberch started his career at the fabled Ajax academy before having a mixed loan spell at NEC Nijmegen, and a year at mid-table Romanian top division side Universitatea Cluj. Last season Gravenberch played 28 times as Dordrecht finished 14th.
The record of Eerste Divisie players in the Championship does not make pretty reading. Lars Veldwijk scored 30 times in the 2013/14 season before a miserable goalless six months at Nottingham Forest.
Berry Powel suffered a similar downturn in fortunes in the 2005/06 season. After 19 goals in 26 games he moved to Millwall, but just six months and one goal later the Lions were down and he headed back to the Netherlands.
Gravenberch though is younger than both Powel and Veldwijk were when they moved to England. He looks like a low cost, low risk signing and anyone who graduates from the Ajax academy will have had a good footballing education.
The signing also hints at the growing influence of Reading's new Technical Director Brian Tevreden which can only be a good thing. We can probably look forward to more signings like Gravenberch in the coming months, which is a welcome change of direction from signing big name players. This move will be a step up for Gravenberch, but there have been far too few players like that at the club in recent years.
Another Mysterious Eastern European Sold
In separate news, it has been reported that January signing Seid Behram is leaving the club seemingly without ever setting foot in a Reading shirt. The 17-year-old Bosnian joined from FC Zeljeznicar before immediately being loaned out to Lille in a move which has now been made permanent.
This is the second time the Royals have moved an Eastern European who was never able to actually be at the club after signing. Georgian international Lasha Dvali was signed in 2013, but spent his whole two years "at the club" away on loan.
Both Behram and Dvali were signed as youth internationals. Now it doesn't take a Football Manager expert to realise that it's slightly odd signing players who can't get work permits, and might be years away from ever even being in a position of even applying for one.
We don't know whether the club were hoping to make an easy profit, but at best these signings were a case of opportunistic optimism, at worst... no let's not go down that route.