Reading are tracking Peterborough midfielder Marcus Maddison, according to two key men behind the scenes at the League One club. Posh’s owner Darragh MacAnthony and Director Football Barry Fry both confirmed the Royals’ interest in the English creative player who can line up through the middle or out wide.
Maddison, 24, started out in Newcastle United’s youth system but made his name at non-league Gateshead, before joining Posh in 2014. He had a terrific 2017/18 campaign in the third tier, registering 12 goals and 23 assists across 53 games in all competitions. That’s understandably led to speculation that he will move on to a higher level, and MacAnthony himself admitted a few weeks ago that he won’t stand in the way of the player’s departure.
“I gave him my verbal assurances that were we to fall short and not gain promotion, I would allow him to leave the club subject to an offer acceptable to the football club and place him on the transfer list.”
“Reading have shown an interest in Marcus Maddison, but they haven’t made a bid yet. Marcus has some incredible stats, but we might not get the millions we originally expected for him.”
On the face of it, it looks like Reading are in a strong position to get their man should they wish. Despite Peterborough’s reputation as a club that drives a hard bargain when letting go of their talent, Maddison’s desire to move up a division to further his career means they may have to take the best offer they can get. As Fry himself accepts, that offer may not be particularly lucrative, particularly in terms of cash up front.
At the moment, we don’t know how what kind of budget Paul Clement has to play with, but you’d expect that billionaire owner Dai Yongge has a decent amount of loose change down the back of his luxury sofa (NB: The Tilehurst End does not officially know the quality of Dai Yongge’s sofa).
At just 24, and boasting a record of 42 goals and 61 assists in 177 Posh appearances, Maddison would not only represent quality in the short-term, but also potentially fine resale value after that. Forking out, say, £4-5 million (I’m just guessing) is water under the Caversham bridge if it results in either promotion or big-money interest in Maddison from a Premier League club down the line.
Should Reading bring the player in, it would also be an intriguing shift in transfer window strategy. Since relegation from the Premier League in 2013, the Royals have made just two permanent additions from lower league clubs - Ali Al-Habsi and Callum Harriot - and both of those had been playing in the Championship the previous season. Plucking quality from League One, League Two and below used to be what Reading was all about, but the club seem to have neglected that in the last few years.
Signing Maddison would be a call-back to those days, and for me would be a good way to partially remedy the hit-and-miss transfer policy of the post-2013 era.
What do you think? Is Maddison the kind of player that Reading should be going after, or is there more value in the overseas market? Let us know in the comments or on social media.
Maddison’s career stats came from Transfermarkt.com