Alecs Stam, covers football for ... you can find him on twitter @AlecsStam and follow his work at tikitaka.ro
Why is Popa leaving Steaua?
Adi Popa was in the last six months of his contract and it was already settled with the club that he’ll leave on a free in the summer until Reading came in. He is the last player remaining from a good team that beat Ajax and Chelsea in 2013 in the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League. He’s seen all his colleagues gone to better teams, he’s won everything domestically so he wanted to take on a new challenge.
At yesterday’s press conference he said that “I’ve fulfilled my dreams here, now it’s time to move on. This transfer is a step forward, the Championship is a very strong division”. He added that he rejected an offer from La Liga side Granada and decided to sign for Reading.
I should add that he was one of the most loved players by the fans because he was one of them. He was going every week at the stadium to support the team from the stands when he was a teenager. He is a humble good guy with a big heart and will try his best all the time without a doubt.
What are his main strengths?
Popa will always give his all for 90 minutes, he will run up and down the flank like a motorcycle. He has great work rate and a lot of pace.
If his technical abilities were as good as the skills mentioned above, he would’ve been a top player. Unfortunately, his dribbling and crossing abilities are not so good because too many times he keeps his head down.
Do you think he'll cope well in the Championship?
His physique is OK and he trains hard, so compared to other Romanian players who went to England in the last few years and had difficulties to adapt to the style, I think Popa has an advantage.
I’m curious too see which position will he play because he’s a natural RM/RW and if Stam decides to keep the system with three at the back, Popa will probably have to adapt to a wing-back role.
Is the £500k fee good value for Reading
The club always asked between 1-1.5 million Euros for him. Considering that he was going to leave on a free in July, I think it’s a good price for both teams for a 28-year-old international player.