Modou Barrow has been the subject of a bid from Turkish side Antalyaspor, but the Royals have turned it down. A report in Get Reading claims that interest in the Gambian winger has hardened into an actual offer, but it doesn’t mention how much that offer was worth.
This comes less than two weeks since Barrow was thought to be set on leaving the Madejski Stadium - again according to Get Reading. They claimed at the time that the player’s asking price was merely £1million, but today it appears that the club have performed a u-turn:
“GetReading understands Barrow is part of a group of five players at the club who the owners - Chinese siblings Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li - have said are not for sale.
“And the owners are set to remain firm on any further bids for the players. It’s understood they have said not even a bid as high as £10m will be enough to prise the players away from the club.”
That’s remarkably different from the stance we were led to believe was in effect at Reading on June 24 - when the first Barrow story came out. To be fair though, the club’s financial position could have changed significantly in some way - perhaps due to the recently announced sponsorship deal with Casumo for example - or the owners’ view may simply have changed. At this stage though, we don’t know.
Besides Barrow’s future, for me there are two key points to consider here.
Firstly, the notion that we’ve hardened our stance on five first-team players’ futures, refusing to sell them even for silly money. That would suggest the club are seriously confident about the overall current financial situation; that they’re ruling out cashing in on some of the club’s key talent.
That still doesn’t address the main problem at the moment though: getting players off the books. Reading are thought to be keen on getting rid of eight players this summer: Chris Gunter, Garath McCleary, Sam Baldock, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Luke Southwood, Adrian Popa, David Meyler and Marc McNulty.
Simply put, we can’t bring anyone in before those players start to leave. It’s not an issue of having the cash to make signings, but instead of balancing out the wage bill for the purposes of Financial Fair Play. Selling first-team players for several millions of pounds doesn’t really come into that equation - the wage bill is the important thing here.
Secondly, who’s on this reported five-player list? Besides Barrow, we can safely assume that key men Liam Moore and Andy Rinomhota are on it; Moore now essentially being the club’s most senior player after Gunter and McCleary were frozen out, and Rinomhota arguably our biggest talent.
Yakou Meite is another probable inclusion; he was handed a four-year contract late last year and Dai Yongge is thought to have personally blocked a January exit. Otherwise you’re looking at senior players John Swift and Andy Yiadom competing for the final spot, although youngsters Michael Olise and Danny Loader could be included.
My initial guess for the five was Barrow, Moore, Rinomhota, Meite and Yiadom, but any of the other three I’ve mentioned above are realistic inclusions. Guesses in the comments and on our social media pages please!