The Royals, among other clubs, have been strongly linked with a move for Shrewsbury Town midfielder Josh Laurent. The 24 year-old is enjoying a good season in League One and has attracted interest from multiple Championship clubs. It is understood that no official bids have been made yet, but Reading are supposedly leading the line for Laurent’s signature. Town have reportedly offered Laurent a new contract amidst all the interest.
On Thursday, Mark Bowen admitted his admiration for the midfielder but played down talk of a potential move, saying:
“I know about the boy and I know he is a talented young player. He’s one a number of clubs could be interested in and he is on our radar. But no more than that.”
The Royals boss has also made it clear that he wants to avoid any disruption to the playoff charge and, as a result, no players will be leaving the club this month:
“I’m in constant contact with Mr Dai and his representatives and there is absolutely no will at all to sell. I’ve been made aware no one is going anywhere.”
So what could Josh Laurent bring to the Mad Stad?
Laurent has started 19 of Salop’s 24 league games, contributing two goals and two assists. He tends to play more of a central role, rather than an attacking midfielder. He is tall and a strong dribbler on the ball, with a good ability to play short passes. Laurent wins almost all of his aerial duels and tends to go about his work quietly in the middle of the park.
Shrewsbury fan Kieran has given me an insight on Josh’s style of play and impact on the game:
“Josh has been great for us so far this season. A first look at his stats and he may not seem the best player; however, in a Shrewsbury team starved of goals, he is our bright spark.”
“He’s powerful and has a good drive when dribbling with the ball. He has a bit of flair in his game and can pop up with the occasional goal. As with every player at this level he can have good games and bad games, but when the team is playing well, he is usually one of the instigators.”
Despite Laurent’s stats not painting him in the best light, it is clear that he goes about his role effectively: causing issues for defences and having a positive impact on the teams performance. Given his ability to change a game in League One, would he be able to make the step up?
“It would be a big loss for him to go but would be a huge gain for the club who signs him.”
Reading aren't short of central midfielders, with Swifty, Ejaria, Rino, Adam and Pele all available for selection. However, with Laurent aged just 24 and performing consistently, he could be an affordable option to replace 34 year-old Charlie Adam when he moves on, and/or Pele if he moves back to Monaco following his loan spell in Berkshire.
Signing Laurent now would give him time to get to know his team mates, learn Bowen’s style of play and adjust to the league’s tempo, rather than being thrown straight in the deep end.
Would you be happy with the signing of Josh Laurent this January?
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