Tommy Elphick to Reading looked like one of the more likely transfers to happen this summer. Although the club has plenty of centre halves at the moment - Liam Moore, Paul McShane, Tiago Ilori, John O’Shea and Tyler Blackett (not to mention the youngsters) - the Aston Villa defender did OK in his few months on loan with the Royals.
He’s a quality player, has good experience with Bournemouth and elsewhere, and is on the books at a club who are desperately short on cash. With Reading strong linked with making his loan deal permanent this window, a deal seemed inevitable.
However, the move has apparently stalled. Besides the rumours of him re-joining going cold in general, the Chronicle claimed that Elphick that the centre half now has a way back to first-team football at Villa Park after John Terry’s departure. Although they were pretty vague about it all, another source (Alan Nixon from The Mirror) said the following:
“Reading. Trying to sign an experienced centre half. He is on huge money. So they want a loan. His club won’t pay him up either.”
That’s obviously not much clearer - Nixon doesn’t even name the player - but, by the description, it’s very probably Elphick. Usual pinch of salt rules apply to all of this of course - the sources just mentioned and the following speculation.
It’s an educated guess to put two and two together to get the following - Reading want Elphick, the player is open to a move and so are Aston Villa, but Elphick’s contract is so lucrative that it’s proving to be a stumbling block for everyone.
Elphick swapped Bournemouth (a Premier League club) for Aston Villa (then recently relegated) in the summer of 2016, agreeing a three year deal. Now, given the Villans’ well-publicised liberal attitude to finances, it’s also a safe bet to assume that the player agreed to good money. Not only did Villa have to persuade him to drop down a division, but this was also the same time they were chucking millions of pounds around in a scatter-gun attempt at putting together a promotion-winning side (cough £5m for Aaron Tshibola cough).
Long story short, we probably shouldn’t be surprised that Reading are having trouble signing Elphick. Unless Elphick is happy to have his wages cut - which from the point of view of a 30 year-old with maybe one last big contract in him (?) isn’t the best idea - he’s set to stay on Villa’s books, a club who would probably much prefer a cheaper alternative.
Expect this one to run a while longer, although it could end up being another loan move if that’s the best compromise for sorting out the player’s wages.
What do you think about it all? Do Reading even need Tommy Elphick? Leave us a comment below or on social media.