According to the man himself, Paolo Hurtado is going through a purple patch in his career. The Peruvian, who joined Vitoria Guimaraes on loan last summer, has nine goals and three assists in 36 games this season.
He recently told Peru's Radio Ovacion:
"For everything that is happening at the club, it is my best year out of Peru. With work and perseverance, thank God things are coming out and I hope to continue at this level for a long time."*
Statistically speaking, he's definitely right. El Caballito's previous best season since his departure from Peru's Allanza Lima was 2012/13, when he managed eight goals and one assist in 35 games. He followed that up with a disappointing three assists in 28 (2013/14), five goals and an assist in 23 (2014/15) and a solitary goal in 13 (2015/16).
This current form is, depending on how much you trust transfer rumours, potentially doing enough to interest the likes of Bournemouth and West Ham.
Does he have a future at Reading?
He's keeping his options open, that's for sure. From the same Radio Ovacion interview:
"Now I'm not thinking about whether I'm going back, where I'm going. I'm going to finish the season with Vitoria, and at the end of the season I'll see what's best for me, and I'm hoping to keep growing."*
At the end of the current campaign, Hurtado will still have a year left on his deal with Reading. Indeed, Jaap Stam seems open to welcoming him back to the Madejski Stadium. As recently as the end of March, the manager told GetReading:
"He was out on loan last season so there was already something going on with him. So if it was possible to bring him back we would have done that.
"But it isn't at the moment so that is why he's still out there."
That said, I imagine that Hurtado himself will be keener on staying in Portugal where he's evidently more comfortable. Clearly, he didn't take well to Berkshire life and English football - hence him being shipped back to the continent after only 150 minutes of first team football.
Do you think he'll be back? Send us a tweet @TheTilehurstEnd.
*Article translated with Google Translate (I don't speak Spanish beyond 'hello', 'how are you?' and ‘where is the cathedral?'
Hurtado's career stats come from TransferMarkt.