We’re well into the second half of the transfer window, with only a few weeks remaining for Paul Clement to bolster his squad. So far, we’ve seen three free agent signings, a number of fringe players being released but no major departures.
Reading are expected to remain active in the market with the manager claiming that a few incomings and outgoings are on the cards. But what more business actually needs to be done?
So far: new contracts for Anssi Jaakkola and Lewis Ward
Main objective: get Luke Southwood to do the same
The establishment of Vito Mannone as Reading’s number one last season, plus the presence of the experienced Anssi Jaakkola means the Royals are well-stocked between the posts. Further down the pecking order, George Legg, Lewis Ward and Luke Southwood are bright prospects for the future and can afford to be sent out on loan with the two senior ‘keepers staying put.
However, Southwood is out of contract this summer so is on course to leave the club. Despite having Legg and Ward, we don’t want to lose a guy who’s won the under-20 World Cup with England.
So far: signed Andy Yiadom on a free, released Jake Sheppard
Main objectives: sell Tyler Blackett, loan out Tennai Watson
Reading have plenty of full-backs on their books, spread pretty evenly across both sides. Jordan Obita, Omar Richards and Tyler Blackett on the left with Chris Gunter, Yiadom and Tennai Watson on the right - plus, Gunter and Yiadom can fill in left or right if needed whilst Leandro Bacuna and Pelle Clement can come in at a push.
That leaves Clement (Paul) with too many cooks in his full-back kitchen, so a few departures are in order. Blackett isn’t likely to make the grade - and certainly won’t if he’s not getting the game time he’d need - and Watson should probably be sent out on loan for experience.
Main objectives: keep Liam Moore, loan out some youngsters
Perhaps the biggest success so far is keeping Liam Moore. Brighton have reportedly made a few bids, most recently rising up to around £8m up front, but none have been accepted, with Clement confirming on Wednesday that the club doesn’t want to sell the player.
Tiago Ilori, John O’Shea and Paul McShane give Reading a decent set of four centre halves but then, like with the ‘keepers, you’ve got a glut of young talent on the fringes. Axel Andresson and Tom Holmes made their debuts like season, whilst Gabriel Osho and Tom McIntyre could break through in the near future. To make sure that they continue to develop, Reading need to send at least two out on loan for that first team experience.
Main objective: sell or loan out a few more
Despite letting go of Wieser, Quinn and presumably Danzell Gravenberch at some point, Reading still have around 10 central midfielders who are pushing for first team football. Meyler, Kelly, Swift and Bacuna are probably towards the top of the pecking order, but any of van den Berg, Evans, Edwards, Clement (Pelle), Barrett or Rinomhota could be surplus to requirements.
Personally, I’d move on van den Berg and Evans who both seemed to be out of favour with Clement last season, and loan out Barrett and Rinomhota, giving us a set of six.
So far: Yakou Meite and Adrian Popa returned from loan spells
Main objective: nothing
Reading’s Goldilocks position - after starting last season with too many wingers and then ending it with too few, Reading now seem to be just about right. Popa, Meite and Callum Harriott will provide competition for Modou Barrow and Sone Aluko, with Garath McCleary due back at some point next season.
Unless one player is desperate for game time and doesn’t get it, there’s no real need for a sale. We’re also short on young wingers, so similarly no need for anyone to go out on loan for first team experience.
Main objective: one or two first team signings, loan out Smith
As sure as night follows day, Reading need a goalscorer in a summer transfer window. Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Yann Kermorgant both make decent squad options, but neither is going to provide the regular source of goals that we need. That could however be Coventry City’s Marc McNulty who’s been the subject of three bids from us so far.
Bringing new first team talent in leaves Clement with a decision to make over Sam Smith and Danny Loader. Although they’ve both made their first team debuts, it’s unlikely they’ll get much game time next season, so it makes sense to loan out Smith (20) and let Loader (17) keep scoring goals for the under-23s with the odd appearance in the main squad.