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’...
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...
Chris Gunter either has no plans to move on yet, will be moving abroad or a move has already been sorted out as he's currently out playing golf and not sorting out a transfer #ReadingFC— Milo (@MiloRoyal1871) August 8, 2019
This doesn't even include McCleary, Popa, Gunter and Baldock. Would be great if we can sell a few in the next day or so, along with Barrow #readingfc— Finley Crebolder (@FinCrebolder) August 8, 2019
Bodvarsson was a class act on and off the pitch.— Opie (@opiesw) July 12, 2019
Worked his hardest, I would say good luck, but undoubtedly Millwall will be in a relegation scrap with us #readingfc
Liam Kelly to Feyenoord is confirmed.— Greg Double (@Dubstep1988) July 8, 2019
This is a classic no-hard feelings, stay friendly with her parents break-up.
Will only really care if his next relationship is clearly better than the one we had together. #readingfc
Marc McNulty down.— Matheus de Andrade (@maffff) July 24, 2019
Sam Walker, Chris Gunter, David Meyler, Garath McCleary, Adi Popa, Sam Baldock and Sam Smith to go (please). #ReadingFC
Don’t understand why some of the players transfer listed aren’t forcing through a move. Players like Gunter and McCleary have the right but why not Baldock and Meyler, you’re not going to play next season, stop sitting on a decent wage and leave ♀️ #ReadingFC— Harry Sands (@SarryHands) July 28, 2019
Meyler finally gone hopefully not long before Gunter and Mccleary find new clubs instead of sitting on their overpaid contracts #readingfc— Scott Graham (@ScottGraham_10) July 31, 2019
Convinced McNulty would’ve come good in the right system and given a run of games - criminally misused #readingfc— Chris (@ChrissRFC) July 26, 2019
It had to be done. No disrespect to any players but this is seriously overdue.— Biscuiteer (@BelfastBiscuit) July 2, 2019
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...
Actually pissed off we missed out on Oliveira purely because the club is a mess. Clearly wanted to sign for us and was available on a free. He was the talisman we've been missing for 2 seasons and the club let him slip through their fingers. Huge mistake #ReadingFC— Guy Reed (@Guy_Reed) July 20, 2019
Please no! I thought this was an old rumour that someone brought back?— vitooo (@v1to__) July 17, 2019
‘#ReadingFC are delighted to complete the signing of Wenderson Galeno for an undisclosed fee. The Brazilian youngster joins the royals on a four year contract. #GalenoIsARoyal’ https://t.co/ibKM6WhHpJ— Matt (@MattJH_2001) July 11, 2019
Real shame about Lewis Baker, would have liked to see him back at #ReadingFC this season. Looks like we've only got 1/5 of the first team loanees from last season. Hoping Liverpool give up on selling and loan us Ejaria https://t.co/SGxvyq0NYS— Joe Miller (@JoeMiller_18) July 24, 2019
Shame to miss out on Oliveira, I felt that was an attainable quality striker. Not sure your gonna get much on free. #ReadingFC— Steven Kemp (@kempy26783) July 20, 2019
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...
Imagine swapping Dave Edwards and joey van den berg for Ovie Ejaria and Pele or even better Bodvarson and Baldock for Puscas and Joao #readingfc— Ollie Broad (@olliebroad19RFC) August 8, 2019
100% probably still stumbling round the Oracle slurring and singing "WEVE SIGNED GEORGIE PUSCAS.. WEVE SIGNED GEORGIE PUSCAS" #Readingfc— (@Reading106) August 8, 2019
Joao Virginia (loan)— GKB (@GomesKnowsBest) August 8, 2019
Michael Morrison (free)
Charlie Adam (free)
Matt Miazga (loan)
Lucas Boyé (loan to buy)
Lucas Joao (5m+)
George Puscas (7.5m+)
Ovie Ejaria (loan to buy)
What a window, up the mighty ding!#ReadingFC
Liverpool’s statement outlines Ejaria will move to us on a permanent deal next summer. Great work! So much potential #readingfc— Jimmy Coulson (@Jimmy_Coulson) August 8, 2019
Happy with the signing of Morrison, Brum fans unhappy that he’s gone, ‘no nonsense’ defender. he’s on a free, brings experience & leadership, chips in with goals. Should be a decent partner for Moore. #readingfc— Stevie p (@stevie_p1871) July 20, 2019
I’m happy with the Morrison signing. It’s that spine/core of the team we need to strengthen. A CM and a main, long term striker next #readingfc— Cam Baker (@cambaker96) July 20, 2019
Fantastic signing and quite a coup for us to get Miazga back for this season! Him and Moore make a great pairing and he fits Gomes style well. Not sure quite where that leaves Morrison and also a shame there's doubt over Ejaria joining now but still one big positive #readingfc— Tom Maynard (@ttmaynard) July 24, 2019
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.