Prior to the 2002/03 season, teams could buy and sell players throughout the season until March 31st. But that year, as part of a compromise agreement with the European Commission, the January transfer window was born to best preserve contractual stability for both players and clubs.
Reading have used it to varying effect in the years since, and we thought we'd look back on every January signing the Royals have made since the window was introduced...
Key: [Player] (previous club, fee, date)
2003 (Alan Pardew): Steve Sidwell (Arsenal, undisclosed, 20th)
2004 (Steve Coppell): None
2005 (Coppell): Les Ferdinand (Bolton Wanderers, free, 6th), Adam Federici (unattached, free, 20th), Martin Keown (Leicester City, free, 28th),
2006 (Coppell): Scott Golbourne (Bristol City, undisclosed, 6th), John Halls (Stoke City, £250,000, 19th)
2007 (Coppell): Mikkel Andersen (Akademisk Boldklub Gladsaxe, undisclosed, 26th), Alan Bennett (Cork City, undisclosed, 30th), Greg Halford (Colchester United, undisclosed, 30th) Michael Duberry (Stoke City, undisclosed, 31st)
2008 (Coppell): Marek Matějovský (Mladá Boleslav, undisclosed, 7th), Jimmy Kebe (Lens, Undisclosed, 28th)
2009 (Coppell): Jay Tabb (Coventry City, undisclosed, 19th), Dan Harding (Ipswich Town, loan, 29th)
2010 (Brian McDermott): Gunnar Heidar Thorvaldsson (Esbjerg, loan, 3rd), Andy Griffin (Stoke City, loan, 11th), Zurab Khizanishvili (Blackburn Rovers, loan, 25th)
2011 (McDermott): Sean Morrison (Swindon Town, £250,000, 18th), Brett Williams (Eastleigh, £50,000, 18th), Mathieu Manset (Hereford United, undisclosed, 21st)
2012 (McDermott): Karl Sheppard (Shamrock Rovers, free, 12th), Tomasz Cywka (Derby County, free, 26th), Jason Roberts (Blackburn Rovers, undisclosed, 26th), Matthew Connolly (QPR, loan, 31st)
2013 (McDermott): Daniel Carrico (Sporting Lisbon, €750,000, 1st), Hope Akpan (Crawley Town, £300,000, 8th), Stephen Kelly (Fulham, undisclosed, 11th), Nick Blackman (Sheffield United, undisclosed, 30th)
2014 (Nigel Adkins): None
2015 (Steve Clarke): Jure Travner (FK Baku, free, 22nd), Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea, loan, 22nd), Yakubu (Al Rayyan, free, 2nd Feb - deadline day that year)
2016 (McDermott): George Evans (Manchester City, undisclosed, 19th), Yann Kermorgant (Bournemouth, undisclosed, 20th), Deniss Rakels (KS Cracovia, undisclosed, 28th)
2017 (Jaap Stam): Tiago Ilori (Liverpool, £3.75 million, 18th), Adrian Popa (Steaua Bucharest, undisclosed, 30th), Jordon Mutch (Crystal Palace, loan, 31st), Reece Oxford (West Ham United, loan, 31st), Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth, loan, 31st)
- Since the January transfer window's creation in 2002/03, Reading have signed a total of 39 players - two goalkeepers, 15 defenders, 11 midfielders and 11 forwards.
- Nine of those players have been loan signings, with another 7 being free transfers. That means there have been 23 players paid for in January.
- Until this year, their busiest month came in January 2007, 2012 and 2013, when four players came through the door. However, this record was broken this year as five players were signed. No players were signed in January 2004 and 2014.
- Two signings have been announced on one day on four occasions: January 22nd 2015, January 26th 2012, January 18th 2011 and January 30th 2007. Once again this record was broken this year as three players were announced on the 31st.
- This year was only the fourth time that Reading have brought players in on January's deadline day, after 2007 (Michael Duberry), 2012 (Matthew Connolly) and 2015 (Yakubu).