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Stick Or Twist: Reading’s Loan Dilemma

Harry takes a look at which of the loan signings Bowen should be looking to tie down at the end of the season - whenever that may be.

Wigan Athletic v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

Loan signings can be fantastic - look at last season as a prime example. All five made in January 2019 were not only key to us staying in the Championship, but all formed fantastic bonds with pretty much the entire fanbase.

However, with those bonds and the pleasure of having them in your team, comes the heartbreak of losing them far too soon - I mean, I still dream about Nelson Oliveira to this day.

If it were up to the fans, all five of those loan signings made last season would still be playing in the blue and white hoops - I’m sure of that. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. That responsibility falls onto the shoulders of the club, and will do so once again at the end of this season - whenever that may be.

But, if it were up to the fans - when I say fans I obviously mean me - then this is who I think Mark Bowen and Nigel Howe should be breaking their neck trying to keep at the club, and who I think they’re better off waving goodbye to, out of the five loan signings we currently have at the club.

Ayub Timbe

The Kenyan winger only joined in January, so really hasn't had the chance to properly show the fans, his manager or the club whether or not he’s worth keeping at the club.

However, what he has showed in his limited time on the pitch in Reading colours is something a little different. Raw, out-and-out pace and a willingness to run at players and make them uncomfortable - but with Mo Barrow scheduled to return to the club after his loan move to Turkey, would we need both Barrow and Timbe in the squad?

If it did come to a toss up between the two of them, even with Timbe being more than likely a much cheaper option in terms of wages, I just have a feeling that the club would probably opt for Barrow.

*Puts tin hat on, ready for the mountains of abuse I'm about to get from the entirety of Kenya*

Verdict: Don’t keep

Lucas Boye

The Argentinian forward has, like Timbe, really struggled to show everyone just what he’s capable of since joining on loan from Italian side Torino last summer. He has managed to show glimpses of quality, particularly in the earlier stages of the campaign under the helm of Jose Gomes, but he has only managed to bag himself two goals so far.

There is, however, just something about him that makes you think he could be a very, very good player in the Championship. He can be aggressive and full of fight, which is key in this league, plus he also has a touch of flair and the ability to make something happen out of nothing.

If this were Boye’s first season of a longer-term deal then I’m sure no one at the club would be worrying about it, but ultimately it’s not and the question has to be asked whether he’s done enough this season to warrant the club taking a punt on him. Has he got through the audition?

Putting my own personal feelings aside, I’m not sure Howe or Bowen would say he has done enough. I would love Boye to be given another chance to see what he could do in this team next season, but I just don’t think that’ll realistically happen.

Verdict: Don’t keep (*sad emoji*)

Blackpool FC v Reading FC - FA Cup Third Round: Replay Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Pele

A slow starter, but someone who has really kicked on in recent months and established himself as a key member of the squad since Bowen took over - particularly over the Christmas and New Year period where we had those faint dreams of reaching the play offs and before any of us really knew what Covid-19 was.

Signing from Monaco, though, I have a feeling he may not be the cheapest to tie down on a permanent deal. The transfer fee may not be too bad, but I can imagine he’s on a pretty healthy wage packet at the French club. Plus, would the signing of Pele harbour the progression of academy boy Andy Rinomhota? Is that something worth taking into consideration?

Whether or not the club will try and keep Pele is, for me, a really tricky one. There is a lot he can offer the club in terms of squad depth and also quality when he does play. I obviously don’t know all the financials behind the deal, and I may well be taking a big swing and a miss on my predictions of what they could be.

I am, though, slightly leaning towards the club trying to keep the midfield enforcer.

Verdict: Try to keep

Matt Miazga

I’m pretty sure every fan would probably chip in themselves if it meant we managed to keep Miazga at the Mad Stad for the next five years. The American is a huge fans’ favourite, and not only that, he is also a seriously good Championship defender.

Almost unbeatable in the air, good on the ball and will go toe to toe with anyone he comes up against. The question with Miazga isn't whether or not the club want to keep him - I am near enough 100% sure they do - the question is whether or not it’s possible.

Miazga has a deal until 2022 with Chelsea, and we all know how Chelsea like to do their business. I very much doubt it would be a cheap deal to bring Miazga to Berkshire on a permanent basis. But, with that being said, is Miazga ever seriously going to be contending for a first-team spot at the Blues? Probably not. And Miazga is the type of guy who just wants to play football.

The club will try to keep the USA international at the club, and I for one hope they succeed.

Verdict: Try to keep

Reading v Sheffield United - FA Cup - Fifth Round - Madejski Stadium Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images

Ovie Ejaria

The best till last. The great thing about this loan deal is we don’t have a choice. Ovie Ejaria is here, and he’s here to stay. £3.5 million. I repeat, £3.5 million. That’s all its costing us to keep this magician at the Madejski Stadium for years to come.

He is a wizard, and will only continue to improve and get better the more time he spends playing football. He needs to improve his final product and decision making, we all know that, but to have someone with the raw talent that Ovie does in our ranks is such an exciting prospect.

I just hope it’s not too much longer until we can see him stepping out on the pitch again. In fact, I’d watch the 3-0 defeat at home to Wigan every weekend for the remainder of the season if it meant I could get back to the Madejski again.

Verdict: He’s ours.


I’m sure you’ll all have your own opinions and will probably disagree with me. What do you think the club will do? Who should they keep? Who shouldn’t they keep? Let us know what you think!

URZ