Any worries that Reading would go the entire January transfer window without signing anyone have been put to bed, with the club confirming that Tommy Elphick has completed a loan move from Aston Villa until the end of the season.
News of the Royals’ interest in the central defender only emerged on Sunday, but the deal has now been agreed to reinforce Jaap Stam’s options at the back. With Paul McShane currently sidelined with a hamstring injury and Liam Moore’s future in Berkshire still up in the air, the addition of the experienced Elphick does seem to make sense. Tiago Ilori will hope the signing doesn’t hamper his own chances of regular football.
Elphick, 30, started his career with hometown club Brighton and Hove Albion before moving to Bournemouth in 2012. He quickly became a fans favourite at Dean Court, captaining the Cherries to two promotions, including to the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history in 2015 alongside Yann Kermorgant. Not helped by injuries, he struggled for game time in the top flight, and moved to Aston Villa for a reported fee of £3 million in the summer of 2016 as the Midlands club aimed to bounce back from relegation.
The defender was quickly made captain at Villa Park too, and made 26 appearances last season. However, in the current campaign he has played just four league games and found himself behind James Chester, John Terry and Christopher Samba in the pecking order, whilst the arrival of Manchester United youngster Axel Tuanzebe on loan has reduced his opportunities even further. Steve Bruce has said:
“I thought it was right for Tommy [to go on loan to Reading]. I can’t give him what he wants.”
Meanwhile, Jaap Stam told the Reading FC official website:
“With the injuries we have at the back, we needed to bring in an extra defender and we were looking for someone who can add individual ability, quality and experience to the squad. Tommy is a player who does just that; he can play in the style we want to play and the experience he brings to the squad is also going to be very important. We are very pleased to have him here.”