It looks like Liam Moore’s future will be determining the headlines over the closing week or so of the summer transfer window. The Reading centre half had looked set to stay in Berkshire, but an out-of-the-blue transfer request on Friday put the proverbial cat among the proverbial pigeons. Brighton and Hove Albion are thought to retain an interest in him, but where does his future lie at the moment?
Putting a transfer request in is one thing - getting the two clubs to agree a fee is another, and that’s the current hold-up on any exit. The Royals reportedly have an asking price of £15m, but even if they’d accept an offer closer to £10m (for example), Brighton might not be all that keen to loosen their purse strings for someone who’s yet to be proven at Premier League level.
Besides having pretty rich owners, hence no need to sell, Reading are in a strong bargaining position after renewing Moore’s contract last summer. He originally agreed a four-year deal when joining from Leicester City in August 2016, but his new deal in 2017 was also for four years - so he’s due to stay until 2021.
According to Sky, we’re happy to hold firm on our valuation and, in the face of that, Brighton could opt for Sheffield United’s Jack O’Connell instead.
#bhafc want #sufc def Jack O’Connell, I’m told, and are prepared to pay £6m for him, as their pursuit of Liam Moore has stalled.— Rob Dorsett (@RobDorsettSky) August 1, 2018
Moore handed in a transfer request to try to force through his move to Brighton, but #readingfc are at this stage holding firm.
Talking to the media at Hogwood today (Wednesday), Paul Clement confirmed that Moore won’t be in the squad that takes on Derby County on Friday. However, he also played up the possibility of the player staying put:
“He’s here and he’s training. We know there is going to be a quick solution to this because the permanent window shuts next week.
”He’ll either be here or we won’t be. I’m hoping he will be here because I like him and he’s a really good player. There won’t be any complaints from me if that window shuts and he’s still here.”
That all leaves us with the possibility that, if Reading and Brighton don’t reach a deal by close of play on August 9, Liam Moore will still be on the books until January at least. As the Jack O’Connell example shows, there are cheaper options out there for Brighton and they may prefer to push that through (I certainly hope they do).
It would put Reading in a slightly awkward position though - what should the attitude of manager, players and fans be towards someone who clearly doesn’t want to be here? I doubt anyone could begrudge him a move - there are only so many opportunities for a Championship defender to break into the top flight - but putting a transfer request in at the eleventh hour still won’t sit well.
With the transfer window closing on August 9, we should know Moore’s future by the time the trip to Nottingham Forest comes up (two days later on August 11). After that, there’s the possibility of seeing the player booed by his own fans in the home games against Birmingham City (August 14, League Cup) and Bolton Wanderers (August 18).
That said, Moore is still one of the more popular players (or at least he was before Friday), and will have plenty of backers in the fan base and on the training ground. If he stays things might be awkward for a while, but it’s nothing a late winner can’t solve.
What would you think if Liam Moore doesn’t leave this summer? Or should Reading avoid this problem by cashing in as quickly as possible? Let us know in the comments or on social media.