Reading have got another player off the books: Adrian Popa. The Romanian winger is heading back to his home nation, having agreed a season-long loan deal with Steaua Bucharest - the club he joined from in January 2017.
Despite obviously not knowing the financials of this move, it’s likely that we’ll likely still be paying some of the 31 year-old’s wages. He’ll be on a fair amount of pay himself - more than Bucharest can afford to take on entirely. Nonetheless, in getting him off the books, we will have trimmed our wage bill that bit more.
With Popa’s contract due to expire next summer, it’s safe to say that his time at the Madejski Stadium is over - even though that was already evident given how much he’s been frozen out in the last couple of years. Most recently, the winger has been excluded from first-team training at Jose Gomes’ request alongside other players not in the manager’s plans - also including Chris Gunter, Garath McCleary and others.
Assuming that Popa sees out the entire season at Bucharest, he’ll end his three-and-a-half year Reading contract having had three times as many loan clubs as competitive Royals goals. He’s already spent time at Al-Taawoun in Saudi Arabia (Gomes’ former club) and Ludogorets in Bulgaria, while his only highlight in Berkshire was a counter-attacking goal at Hillsborough to seal a 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in 2017.
His move to Bucharest was possible due to the transfer window still being open elsewhere in Europe - even if it’s now shut for Reading. This also allowed Modou Barrow to leave the club on loan when he joined joined Denizlispor a few days ago, but other players could join them in heading for the exit.
There had been speculation earlier this month that this could be facilitated by Reading’s Belgian sister club, KSV Roeselare. Jonathan Low from Get Reading reported that the second-tier side were looking at some of the Royals’ under-23s, who travelled to Flanders for a friendly. This group included Popa.