The January transfer window has now officially slammed shut (official term), meaning that we can finally focus on the joys of everything that’s happening on the pitch. Unlike this time last year, Reading had a fairly quiet month, bringing in just two players, both of whom arrived on loan.
Tommy Elphick and Chris Martin joined from Aston Villa and Derby County respectively, adding plenty of experience to The Royals’ squad. Between them, Jaap Stam can now count on an extra 419 matches worth of know-how from the Championship and Premier League. Despite struggling for game time at teams that are currently battling for promotion to the top tier, it’s safe to say that both Elphick and Martin make Reading’s first team better than it was before January.
In terms of outgoings, the major success is in keeping Liam Moore. The centre half had been strongly linked with West Ham United and Celtic among others, but in the end no serious interest materialised. Perhaps they were both put off by Reading’s poor form across December and January? That, for me, is the biggest plus point to come out of the window - The Royals have held onto probably their best player, giving them a huge lift on the pitch and in the morale of fans and squad alike.
However, on the flip-side, out went Roy Beerens. The winger made Vitesse Arnhem his fifth Dutch club on deadline day by agreeing to a three and a half year contract with a side that Reading played in a friendly at Adam’s Park last summer. Although he never properly settled in England, and was forced out of the first team by the arrival of Modou Barrow, Beerens still provided experience, goal-scoring and Dutchness - three things that Jaap Stam adores.
Fellow wideman Adrian Popa also quit the club in search of match practice elsewhere, opting to join Saudi Arabian side Al-Taawoun on loan until the end of the season. For whatever reason, the manager didn’t seem to fancy him (despite buying him a year ago), so a temporary switch was probably for the best.
Another former first team player to depart was Rob Dickie - the academy graduate had been impressing for Lincoln in League Two, but Reading chose to cash in on him - O****d United the destination.
Elsewhere, Deniss Rakels re-joined Cracovia on loan, Jonathan Bond extended his deal at Peterborough earlier in the month whilst Ade Shokunbi will be at Nuneaton until the summer.
Finally, with 25 minutes to go (cheers for that guys...), George Legg went off to League Two Barnet on loan where he should get some valuable experience.