Reading have announced the signing of Sam Walker on a free transfer. The goalkeeper last played for Colchester United, and has been looking for a new club this summer, having been on trial at Bolton Wanderers recently. The 26 year-old agrees a three-year deal at the Madejski Stadium.
Walker came through at Chelsea, where he worked with Paul Clement, before going on numerous loan spells in the lower leagues, including stints at Bristol Rovers and Northampton Town. The last of those loans came at Colchester, who he joined on a permanent basis in 2014. He’s since played well over 200 times for the League Two side.
Although the Royals are already well-stocked between the sticks, Clement apparently wants more competition for Vito Mannone - despite Anssi Jaakkola agreeing a new one-year deal this summer. The manager told the official website:
“I’m very happy Sam has signed a contract here. He is going to provide good competition for that position within our squad. I am looking forward to reuniting with him here at Reading, 10 years since working with him as a youth player at Chelsea. In those ten years, Sam has gained a lot of valuable experience and he will prove a great addition to the group.”
Meanwhile, Brian Tevreden said:
“Competition for places is imperative and, having been a regular at Colchester United, Sam will be pushing hard for the gloves this season. He has both experience and a lot of potential and I am delighted we have been able to secure his signature in what is always a competitive market.”
The news suggests that Reading will let a few goalkeepers go out on loan. New contracts have been authorised this summer for Anssi Jaakkola, Lewis Ward, Luke Southwood and Jokull Andresson, with the last of those joining Hungerford Town on Tuesday. Ward and Southwood will likely head out to a League One or League Two side this season, perhaps leaving Jaakkola as third choice behind Mannone and Walker.