Reading announced the signing of David Meyler on Tuesday, making the Irishman the club’s second addition of the summer transfer window. The 29 year-old will join the Royals from Hull City on the expiration of his contract at the end of the month. How will this signing affect the Reading squad? Who stands to gain and lose out from it? We’ve had a look below.
Reading’s manager has spoken on previous occasions about his desire to bring in ‘leadership’ and ‘experience’ to improve this side, and he’s got both those things in David Meyler. The Irishman has played in the Premier League, Championship and even the Europa League during spells with Hull City and Sunderland, and helped the Tigers gain automatic to the top flight in 2013.
We really suffered from the lack of a composed leader in the heart of midfield for much of last season, with veteran Dave Edwards not having the desired impact. However, Meyler - who knows future team mates Paul McShane and Sone Aluko well from their time at the KC Stadium - should hopefully be a step up in that regard.
Meyler is also a sensible addition in Clement’s ongoing task of shoring up Reading’s defence. Last season’s options in defensive midfield were limited - Joey van den Berg, George Evans and Edwards failing to impress for different reasons - meaning the back four got little protection.
Another holding midfielder was always going to be high up Clement’s shopping list this summer, and another could still arrive. Paddy McNair has been linked with a £5 million move to the Mad Stad but, even if he doesn’t join, Reading already have a bit more steel in the shape of Meyler.
Working out Liam Kelly’s role in the team going forwards could be a little tricky - he’s not physical enough to play in an advanced role like John Swift or in a defensive one like van den Berg. Logically, he’s most likely to play as a form of deep-lying playmaker but, to make that work, he needs a tough tackler next to him - hence the signing of David Meyler.
Reinforcing Reading’s midfield, giving it more bite and strength, gives more license to Kelly. Get Meyler to do the dirty work - protecting the back four, putting in tackles - so that his compatriot can find space to receive the ball and pick passes. In theory, it should create the conditions for Kelly to really express himself, without the defensive duties that he’s less strong at.
What a beard this is. Kaspars Gorkss, eat your heart out.
Joey van den Berg
He’s just not very good, is he? Sorry Joey, but I don’t think you’ve got a future at Reading, and Paul Clement seems to agree - hence bringing in Meyler. The manager seemed to avoid playing van den Berg if it all possible last season, with the Dutchman’s erratic range of passing, poor fitness and error-prone nature not doing him any favours.
Meyler could very well be a straight replacement for van den Berg - who’s now being linked with a move back to the Netherlands.
By logical extension, Reading’s forgotten midfielder is in the same boat as Joey van den Berg. George Evans, still only 23, completed 90 minutes in the league just four times last season, and the arrival of Paul Clement didn’t do much to change his fortunes. In fact, the new gaffer gave him just one start (65 minutes at Aston Villa) in addition to two substitute appearances.
The former Man City man will have been hoping to force his way into the manager’s plans for next season, but the signing of Meyler makes that even harder than it already was.
Anyone hoping for a glamorous transfer window
Although Reading have been strongly linked with big-money bids for McNair, Marcus Maddison and others, they haven’t quite made the free-spending start that some fans may have hoped for. A free transfer move for Andy Yiadom has been followed up with a free transfer move for David Meyler. Savvy enough, but nothing yet to make you really excited for next season.