A number of problems can be highlighted when explaining Reading’s flop 2017/18 campaign and Paul Clement is making amends in those exact areas in the transfer market this summer, most recently with the signing of Marc McNulty.
While David Meyler and John O’Shea add extra Championship and Premier League nous, with Andy Yiadom thrown in to complete a trio of former captains — and thus boost the Royals’ leadership qualities — this latest deal is of a different ilk.
Chiefly, because it is intent on injecting goals into a team who scored just 25 times at home in the Championship last campaign. On his own, albeit in League 2, McNulty netted on 23 occasions as Coventry won promotion via the play-offs.
And, come on, the compilation of said goals lasts more then EIGHT minutes! All joking aside, even the briefest of scans over his repertoire shows a man with plenty of confidence. Be it from range or the penalty spot, McNulty is evidently willing to back himself and only really Mo Barrow expressed any desire to do so in recent times — bar the odd Sone Aluko wonder goal.
One final way this signing is pushing things in the right direction is that McNulty is at that stage in his career when hunger can be teamed with that confidence in a lethal manner. Much has been made of how the likes of Leandro Bacuna, Aluko, Dave Edwards et al. are on their way down in the curve of their careers.
Sure, the same can and will be said of Meyler and O’Shea, but not of McNulty. He’s a player who excelled in Scotland, wasn’t quite ready to perform for an ailing Sheffield United, became a very popular player amid the high expectations of Coventry, and can continue to push on in Berkshire.