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Reading FC Squad As It Stands: Midfield

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Our odyssey through the Reading FC pre-season squad continues with a look at the men vying for a spot in the midfield

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The Reading squad is changing by the day, so much like our look at the Goalkeepers & Defence, this one might be out of date by the time you finish reading!

Central Midfielders

It could be quite the summer of change in the middle of the park for Reading, with Aaron Tshibola already out of the door and constant transfer speculation surrounding both Oliver Norwood and Danny Williams. Both are out of contract at the end of the season so it'll be interesting to see how much Jaap Stam would use either if they do end up staying in Berkshire without penning a contract extension.

Stephen Quinn remains a great utility option that can play across the midfield and you'd expect his energy and dynamism to be right up Stam's street (which I imagine is a majestic yet imposing street that everyone respects...). George Evans will also be chomping at the bit to gain more first team opportunities after seeing limited action following his arrival from Manchester City in January.

On the new arrival front and Joey van den Berg showed off his talents in the 'Norwood role' in the friendly win at Boreham Wood while Denzell Gravenberch is also reportedly capable of moving into a holding role in front of the back four.

Perhaps the biggest winners from Stam's arrival and the possible departure of Tshibola, Norwood & Williams will be a group of Academy midfielders that have struggled to nail down regular spots in the first team squad. Aaron Kuhl was a player who excited many on his progression through the youth ranks but after earning opportunities under Nigel Adkins, the U21 Captain has struggled to break back into the squad despite a loan spell in the Scottish Premiership with Dundee United. Josh Barrett leaped ahead of Kuhl in the pecking order late last season and the freshly turned 18-year-old has already demonstrated he can make an impact at senior level. Liam Kelly was another player who earned quite a buzz at youth level, mostly thanks to some sensational set-pieces and now finds himself right in the mix for a senior spot. His free-kick at Boreham Wood would have done nothing to hurt his chances and Reading's general ineffectiveness from dead-ball situations last season might well give him a direct route into the first-team squad.

Right now there's plenty of depth available but if the club were to lose one or both of Williams or Norwood then you'd suspect Stam might want to add a bit more experience to the group.

Chance of summer transfer activity: 8/10

Wingers

It probably escaped your attention over the past six-weeks but just in case you'd forgotten, we've lost Hal Robson-Kanu to free agency. Hal's departure leaves us a bit short of senior wingers beyond Garath McCleary who fortunately impressed up at Boreham Wood. Tariqe Fosu also had a good game in our pre-season opener and hopes will be high that he can deliver on the promise shown in his fleeting Royal appearances so far. Stephen Quinn remains an option after doing a solid job out wide last season while Deniss Rakels could also drop back into the wide areas if needs be. Jordan Obita has made no secret of his desire to play further forward so he might also get an audition to play further forward.

Jack Stacey returns to the squad after an injury hit start to 2015/16 was followed by a promising loan spell up at Carlisle while Craig Tanner helped Plymouth reach the League Two Play-Off final before eventually falling to AFC Wimbledon.

A wild card could be Paolo Hurtado, with the Peru winger technically on the books right now but widely expected to depart after not taking to life in England.

The wide areas do look a little thin right now but with Stam leaning toward a 4-3-3 for next season it's not a position that's looking a priority area this summer. Dynamic players who can do a job either side of a front man or those that can tuck into a central trio would seemingly stand to benefit under the new regime but the ability to change things will always ensure a spot or two for a winger in the squad (unless you're Roy Hodgson)

Chance of summer transfer activity: 5/10