Goals from Alexander Sørloth, Wilfried Zaha (2) and James Tomkins gave Crystal Palace a 4-0 win over Reading at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon as the Royals ended pre-season without a win to their name.
But in reality, apart from being a reminder that we’ll almost certainly be fighting at the bottom of the table as opposed to the top in 2018/19, the game paled into insignificance in comparison to Paul Clement’s post-match press conference.
After reports yesterday suggested that Liam Moore had handed in a transfer request, Clement confirmed that this was indeed the case - not that he needed to after the 25-year-old played no part against Palace. The manager said:
”I’m hoping the situation is resolved quickly. He is a good player. I hope he stays.
”It’s not ideal. If he stays it’s great if he doesn’t we’ll have to bring in another good player. I’m positive we will have a good outcome from this.
”There are no surprises in football. He is one of the best players here. Certainly in my eight games here he was a standout individual.
”These situations hardly ever work out in an ideal way but we will manage it. We will be ready to act if we need to.”
Moore had been subject to plenty of interest from Brighton & Hove Albion earlier in the window, but Reading appeared to have seen the Seagulls off after rejecting a £10 million bid. It makes the timing of the centre-back’s want away plea slightly odd, but after an image of him in the new kit was seen having been removed from the megastore, it seems as though we have indeed seen the last of him in a Royals shirt.
Another player on the way out looks to be George Evans, who was named in the squad for the game but didn’t get on to the pitch despite Reading being left with ten men following Paul McShane’s injury. Evans rejected a move to Sunderland at the beginning of last week due to interest from a Championship side, and Clement confirmed that the midfielder had agreed terms with a new club prior to kick-off. But we might be seeing Evans again as soon as next Friday night...
As for incomings, Clement seemed positive that the Royals were close to confirming their seventh signing of the summer:
“We are very close to announcing another player, subject to medical.
”Hopefully that will happen in the next couple of days.
”The window shuts in 10 days so that’s the only permanent deal we’ll do. Then we’ll hopefully tap into that loan market.
”Hopefully we’ll have between one and three new faces.”
A striker seems the most likely new arrival, with the manager previously stating the club were close to a deal for a frontman. Meanwhile, the number nine shirt was left free when the 2018/19 squad numbers were announced earlier this week.