Liam Moore’s exit from Reading this summer is, likely, inevitable. After two promising seasons in Berkshire, the centre half will have turned the heads of numerous Premier League clubs, with Brighton and Hove Albion the latest to be linked with a big-money bid.
Moore is probably the Royals’ best player, and certainly the most lucrative asset. Thanks not only to his form, but also the savvy decision to tie him down to a four year contract 12 months ago, the club can command a huge fee for him. Figures of up to £15 million have been speculated as realistic price tags but, whatever the financial reality of a potential deal, Reading are in a strong bargaining position, and could resist all advances for a fan-favourite who appears settled and happy at the Madejski Stadium.
But should they? Premier League interest may in the end not properly materialise - as was the case a few months ago when West Ham seemed to make no offer for Moore - so this case may end up being inconsequential, but if it does, Reading may have a cheque worth upwards of £10,000,000 waved under their noses. I presume cheques aren’t literally waved under people’s noses during football negotiations, but you get my point.
If that happens, the club shouldn’t turn that kind of offer down.
I love Liam Moore - his abilities on the pitch, his potential to become a top defender, and an honest, down-to-earth character, which seems at odds with so much of Reading Football Club and modern football in general. But teams only get the chance to bring in a huge amount of money in one go every so often.
Such a sum, assuming it’s north of £9,000,000 or so, can transform the team as a whole. Thankfully, we’re no longer in a position where we need to sell our best players (Sigurdsson, Long) to stay in the black and can’t reinvest the money into the playing squad. The deep pockets of Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li mean that big profits on first team players can be ploughed back into the side. Sure, we could live beyond our means and splurge out cash, but Aston Villa are currently showing that’s not a good idea.
I’m really excited by some of the names Reading have been linked with recently - Paddy McNair, Marcus Maddison, Jack Marriott and others. Young, talented players with big futures in the game, all of whom could improve this side and maybe even push it closer to promotion - but they don’t come cheap. If it comes down to Liam Moore or a string of quality signings, I’d edge towards the latter.
It wouldn’t be an easy decision to make, but it would be in the club’s best interests.