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Fans Verdict: Transfer Window Special

Reading fans were definitely expecting a lot of turnover over the summer months due to the utter disappointment of the last couple of seasons. However, I don’t think even the most optimistic Royal could predict what actually happened...

The transfer window didn’t get off to the greatest of starts as news broke that Reading were placed under a ‘soft transfer embargo’ by the EFL - basically meaning that we couldn’t sign anyone until we got bodies out of the door.

And that was much harder to do than I think Nigel Howe and Jose Gomes predicted as we struggled for weeks to get the likes of David Meyler, Marc McNulty and Adrian Popa (along with a few others) out the door - probably due to the crazy wage packets they’d been given.

However, Gomes and Howe persevered and more movement began to happen as the transfer window went on. The EFL transfer embargo was lifted and Mr Dai Yongge started getting his chequebook out - big time.

The last few days in particular have been something special, and the optimism among the fans and the club is the highest it has been in a very, very long time. Here’s how the fans reacted throughout the course of the window to the outgoings, incomings and the ‘what could’ve beens’...

Outgoings

Gomes made his feelings pretty clear to a number of players very early in the window by exiling them from first-team training and the pre-season tour to Spain. Love it or hate it, it’s something that’s been needed for a long time.

The manager got his wish with the majority of said players, with McNulty going off to Sunderland, Meyler having his contract terminated altogether, Liam Kelly joining up with former gaffer Jaap Stam at Feyenoord and a number of fringe players going out on loan.

Chris Gunter and Garath McCleary ended up proving too difficult to move on as they both ended the window still Reading players. Whether they will go on to actually play any part with the first team or not remains to be seen.

As the European window doesn’t close till the end of the month, we could see Mo Barrow and Danny Loader still leave Berkshire, after there was rumoured interest in the Gambian winger and Reading ‘pulled the plug’ last-minute on Loader’s move to Wolves.

Here’s the best of what the Reading fans thought of our outgoings this summer...

What could’ve been?

It seemed like every day the Royals were linked with someone new over the course of the season. Obviously the first players to be rumoured joining were the loanees from last season.

Every fan would’ve loved to see all five come back to the club for the new campaign, but that was never going to be realistic with the situation the club found themselves in in the first part of the transfer window.

The likes of Wenderson Galeno, Leo Bonatini, Ben Heneghan, Ethan Ampadu and - incredibly - even Kenedy were linked to us over the course of the summer; some were much more realistic than others, of course.

The fans were certainly disappointed to see the likes of Oliveira, Emi Martinez and Lewis Baker move on to pastures new, but that was before we knew what was to come. Here’s how the fans reacted to some of the missed opportunities this transfer window...

Incomings

Now for the good bit. It started off pretty slow with Reading not making their first signing until the July 11 when Joao Virginia joined on loan from Everton, but the rest - as they say - is history.

A couple more ‘average’ signings followed with the acquisitions of Michael Morrison and Charlie Adam on short-term contracts, but then the embargo was lifted and all hell let loose...

Last season’s man-mountain Matt Miazga returned for another season, with Lucas Boye following closely behind. The real fun began with just three days left of the window though, as Reading splashed out a reported £13 million on Lucas Joao and the incredibly exciting George Puscas from European powerhouses Inter Milan.

The last few days also saw the arrivals of journeyman Brazilian keeper Rafael, midfielder Pele from Monaco and, of course, the return of Ovie Ejaria with just minutes to spare before the transfer deadline at 5pm on Thursday.

What a window for the Royals! Optimism has gone through the roof among the fans now as you can tell...

Conclusion

Wow, just wow. What a window. The last few days have been nothing sort of sensational from Dai Yongge, Nigel Howe and Jose Gomes. To secure the services of the players we have, especially George Puscas (which, frankly, is a ridiculous signing for a Championship club), is absolutely genius.

Optimism and expectations will go up, but Gomes knows that, and now that the owners have backed him and given him a squad that none of us could ever have dreamed of, who knows what the future holds?

This season could now be something special. We haven’t felt this way about our club in a long, long time so get down to Mad Stad, travel the country and support the boys.

URZ