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Five ‘Alternative’ Striker Targets For Reading FC

Do the Royals need to start looking elsewhere for firepower?

Millwall v Northampton Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

So there’s ten hours left of transfer deadline day and Reading are seemingly no closer to bringing in a new striker despite reportedly having a fair amount of money to spend.

Norwich are desperate to hold on to Nelson Oliveira amidst an alleged Swansea bid as well, Brighton’s shortage of strikers means that Tomer Hemed is unlikely to make his way to Berkshire, whilst Jordan Hugill’s transfer request has been turned down by Preston.

So where does that leave the Royals? Will a new name suddenly appear in the frame? We’ve come up with five alternative suggestions that Jaap Stam could go after, knowing full well that the likelihood is that none of them will end up signing. But hey, that’s the fun of deadline day!

Benik Afobe

When Benik Afobe arrived at Reading on loan in March 2012 to cover for the injured Jason Roberts, he was just 19 years old and didn’t really show any signs that he would go on to be a Premier League regular in his three appearances in the blue and white hoops.

Since then however, he has shown his quality in League One with MK Dons (19 goals in 30 games), shown his quality in the Championship with Wolves (23 goals in 48 games) and is now on the books of top-flight Bournemouth, whom he has netted 10 times for 52 appearances.

But with Jermain Defoe joining the Cherries this summer, Afobe finds himself behind both the England international and Josh King in the pecking order on the South Coast. Could a loan move away in order to play regularly interest the 24-year old? If you believe the bookies, Swansea and Wolves are also interested in him.

Lee Gregory

Having previously played for non-league Halifax Town, Lee Gregory has one thing in common with England striker Jamie Vardy - could his miraculous to the top of the Premier League come with Reading?!

The 29-year-old was plucked from the West Yorkshire club in the summer of 2014 by Millwall and has since scored netted 55 times in 147 games for The Lions, including 15 goals last season to help win the League One play-offs and reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.

This season is Gregory’s first at Championship level, and he got off the mark with a goal in Millwall’s 4-0 win over Norwich last weekend. His contract is up at the end of the campaign, meaning that the Royals may be able to get him cheaper than his market value.

Cameron Jerome

Whilst Reading have been pursuing Nelson Oliveira for most of the summer, the answer to their problems upfront may well be his Norwich City team-mate Cameron Jerome, who actually scored more goals (16) than the Portuguese international (12) last season.

Jerome is also available at a much cheaper price, with Derby reportedly launching a £3 million bid to take the striker to Pride Park. Granted, Jerome is much older at 31, but would bring a wealth of experience having played in the top tiers of English football in the last 13 seasons with Cardiff City, Birmingham City, Stoke City, Crystal Palace as well as the Canaries.

Oumar Niasse

With Crystal Palace reportedly having agreed a deal for Oumar Niasse in the last hour, Reading might be just too late to the party with this one, but as the Eagles are still looking at other targets as well, there is a suggestion that the transfer may go through.

The Senegalese striker does have a fairly impressive pedigree, performing well in the Russian Premier League before being brought to England by Everton in January 2016. It’s fair to say that things haven’t worked out for him at Goodison Park, but it was Niasse’s loan spell at Hull City in the second half of last season that really impressed me.

The 27-year-old showed and scored good pace and skill playing off the last man and scored five goals in 20 games. If the press are to believed, it would take around £10 million to secure his signature.

Sam Winnall

Oh to be in Sheffield Wednesday’s situation when it comes to strikers. The Owls can count Jordan Rhodes, Steven Fletcher, Gary Hooper and Fernando Forestieri amongst their ranks, making up what is one of the best front-lines in the Championship.

Of course that is excluding Sam Winnall, who joined from Barnsley in January but has struggled slightly at Hillsborough so far, with the aforementioned competition meaning he’s been limited to just 18 appearances, netting four goals. For this reason, the Daily Mail have reported today that the 26-year-old could look for a loan move away.

Whilst most of his career has been spent in the lower leagues, Winnall showed that he was more than good enough in the Championship last season, with 11 goals in 20 starts for Barnsley before Wednesday shelled out for him. The big question is whether they’d let him go to a Championship rival.