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Contracts and Transfers Under Reading FC's New Owners

Does Reading's contract and transfer activity thus far tell us anything about how the new owners will conduct business?

Reading v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Bar two bits of bad news - Danny Williams' confirmed departure to Huddersfield Town, and Ali Al-Habsi's apparently impending transfer to Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal - Reading have had a very good few days.

The management team kicked off a spree of new contracts at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday, with messrs Stam, Ulderink and Bakkati signing on the dotted line. Chris Gunter joined them the day after, with Liam Kelly also committing his future to the club today.

That flurry of activity is in stark contrast to Reading's business in the transfer window - besides Pelle Clement, no players have been brought in yet, and rumours in general are pretty thin on the ground.

Putting all of the above into a wider context, can we tell anything about what our new Chinese owners are like? For me, yes (this article would be pretty short otherwise).

Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li have acted quickly and decisively to tie down some of Reading's most dependable, valuable assets. In Jaap Stam, Chris Gunter and Liam Kelly, you have an excellent manager, the club's longest-serving player, and one of the best academy products in recent years.

Although persuading them to sign in principle may not have been too difficult, hammering out a deal would still have taken a decent injection of cash. After all, if your owners are short on funds, they wouldn't be dishing out several contracts to important people in quick succession.

On the flipside, Reading have been quiet in the transfer market so far. Although the owners, management and fans all know the need for new signings, the club appears to have gone into the summer window quite slowly.

Usually, there's plenty of noise from local, national and foreign media as Reading are linked to a whole host of players that may or may not be actual transfer targets. This time however, that's not the case. The Royals are apparently going about their recruitment quietly and under the radar.

The only hard evidence we do have at the moment is Pelle Clement: a cheap, low-risk punt who is nonetheless young and fits neatly into Stam's footballing philosophy. So, not much money will be wasted on him.

Just as importantly though, the signing came completely out of nowhere. Rather than making a racket as they splashed the cash on a big name signing, Reading identified their target and signed him up.

In essence: there's no indication of a spending spree done for the sake of burning through a budget. Reading's transfer activity is prudent, smart and objectively-driven.

In summary

All the above could indicate how our new Chinese majority owners will seek to conduct business at Reading: conservatively, but decisively. 'Conservatively' in that they won't spend a huge amount of money on new players that may not be worth it, but 'decisively' in that, when they do have valuable assets at the club, they'll loosen the purse strings to secure them.

In other words, they're rich, but they're not daft. If something is a good investment, it'll be green-lit. If it ain't, it won't.