A little while ago, we asked you to have your say on the futures of Reading’s players who are due to be out of contract next summer - Anssi Jaakkola, John O’Shea, Paul McShane, Tyler Blackett, Danzell Gravenberch, Joey van den Berg, Dave Edwards and Callum Harriott. We’ve now got your answers and can reveal what you guys think The Royals should do with those eight.
Renew contract: 9.7%
Let go: 90.3%
When we asked you this question - before the Millwall game - we said Jaakkola had to do the following if he’s to earn a new contract:
“[He should] hope that the competition gets injured, giving him a chance in the first team, then take that chance and impress Paul Clement. Neither of those parts is particularly likely, and he’ll still probably leave the club even if they did both come off.”
A few days later though, Jaakkola defied all our expectations to be given a chance in the first team. That was indeed due to the competition getting injured, but nonetheless the big Finn did take that chance with a excellent performance against Millwall before keeping his place in the side for the trips to Birmingham City and Swansea City.
Anssi’s foot is now properly in the door, and it’s up to him to keep up his fine displays and give the club a good reason to renew his contract. However, with Vito Mannone and Sam Walker on the books, that’s still not a likely prospect.
Renew contract: 24.5%
Let go: 75.5%
A surprisingly high number of you want the Irishman to be given a new deal at Reading, despite the 37 year-old currently being on a one-year contract that’s likely to end in his retirement next summer. To be fair, he’s looked composed and effective at the back in his few league starts for the Royals so far, and proved crucial in the 3-0 win over Hull City in September.
Renew contract: 17.1%
Let go: 82.9%
The veteran defender is into his fourth season in Berkshire now, but an overwhelming number of you want to see him let go in July 2019 - interestingly, even more than O’Shea. McShane has only made a handful of league starts this season due to poor form and injury, but would be well down the pecking order anyway; O’Shea, Liam Moore, Tiago Ilori and perhaps even Tyler Blackett all ahead of him.
The Irishman will need to get back into the first team pretty sharpish if he’s to earn a new deal, although the club could opt to keep him on for another year as experienced cover while academy players develop.
Renew contract: 63.5%
Let go: 36.5%
NB: The first version of this article said Tyler Blackett’s contract is due to expire next summer (which we’d double-checked). However, an eagle-eyed fan on Twitter spotted the deal actually runs out in 2020. We’ve kept the poll result here anyway.
An emphatic victory for Blackett, with a clear majority of you telling us that he should be at the club beyond next summer. The
left back/centre back/left centre back former Manchester United man has recovered well from a poor 2017/18 season, and is arguably the club’s best left-back - albeit in the long-term absence of Jordan Obita.
You certainly seem happy with his progress, as you would have thought his percentages would be reversed if we’d asked this question before the start of the season. Hopefully the 24 year-old can improve even more with an extended run in the first-team.
Renew contract: 4.5%
Let go: 95.5%
A product of Reading’s scattergun approach to recruitment under the Thai owners, Gravenberch never looked like breaking into The Royals’ first team, and probably would have left earlier if the club had been able to find a buyer. Unsurprisingly, very few of you believe he has a future at the Madejski Stadium, a sentiment which Jaap Stam and Paul Clement will agree with you on.
Joey van den Berg
Renew contract: 2.6%
Let go: 97.4%
Poor Joey gets the lowest ‘renewal rate’ of anyone on this list, with less than 3% of you wanting to see him stick around. That’s not much of a surprise though - or anything that will upset the Dutchman - as he’s already made it very clear how little he likes Reading Football Club. Currently on loan in The Netherlands, he’ll likely return there on a free transfer when his contract runs out.
Renew contract: 9.7%
Let go: 90.3%
Like Blackett, Dave Edwards had a poor time of it last season, but unlike him he’s not yet been able to bounce back from it. The 32 year-old is a long-term absentee and we’re unsure when he’ll be available for selection once more. His experience could see him be given another chance this season, especially with Reading’s current midfield options failing to make the grade, but at his age - and given previous poor form - he’ll likely move when his deal expires.
Renew contract: 51%
Let go: 49%
I must admit, I was very surprised by this result. Harriott hasn’t played a single minute of competitive football since December 2016, but a slight majority of you think he should be given the chance to revive his playing career at Reading.
The 24 year-old is now available to play, having lined up for the under-23s a few times recently to boost his fitness. The job now is for him to get back into the squad and impress the manager. Hopefully we’ll see him back in the hoops sooner rather than later.
It’s pretty clear that, for the most part, you want to see a clear-out at Reading next summer. Tyler Blackett (and maybe Callum Harriott) could have a role to play next season, but otherwise the squad has too many older players who don’t necessarily improve the first team.
With a talented crop of academy players due to come through over the next year or so, we’ll hopefully see them replace a number of more experienced squad members next summer; Luke Southwood for Anssi Jaakkola, Axel Andresson for Paul McShane, Andy Rinomhota for Dave Edwards and so on.