In any normal football season, it’s around about this time that clubs start gearing up for the opening of the transfer window in June. Whilst this may not be any normal football season, that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill turning in recent weeks, and in the last couple of days we’ve seen one player linked with a move to Reading and another linked with a move away...
In: Bruno Paz?
According to Portuguese media outlets Record and A Bola, Reading are one of four clubs interested in signing Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Paz. The Royals, along with fellow Championship sides Brentford and Nottingham Forest reportedly are keen on a permanent deal, whilst Brazilian outlet Fortaleza are interested in a loan deal.
Without knowing much about Paz, I’d say this deal makes little sense from Reading’s point of view. The 22-year-old is a defensive midfielder who can also fill in it right-back, giving him effectively the same profile to Reading’s January signing Felipe Araruna. That said, reinforcements may still be needed in those areas this summer, with Pele, Charlie Adam and Chris Gunter unlikely to be at the club next season.
However Paz’s price tag of €3 million seems a little extortionate for a player whose career is yet to amount to much. He returned from a serious knee injury in January, but has only featured for Sporting’s reserve side since then. His one and only first team appearance to date came as a substitute in a dead rubber Europa League fixture against Ukraine’s Vorskla Poltava in December 2018. With Reading’s finances not in the best place at the moment, you have to wonder what logic there is in signing Paz, especially as Pele may be available for cheaper.
Out: Michael Olise?
If Paz is one player that the club cannot afford to sign, then Michael Olise is one they cannot afford to lose. The Daily Mail have reported that Celtic want to sign the teenager, with former Royals Director of Football Nick Hammond now head of football operations in Glasgow.
Based off how impressive Olise has been in his 18 Reading appearances so far, it is little surprise that he is attracting interest, but the Royals should be in no rush to sell. The reality may be that the club have to end up letting him go a couple of years down the line, but they’ll get far more money in doing so.
There’s no doubting that a move north of the border is an enticing prospect - Celtic are guaranteed trophies every season, having just been crowned Scottish Premiership champions for a ninth year in a row. But equally, Olise is likely to develop much more as a player and be given more opportunities in Berkshire than he would at Parkhead.
The confidence and skill on the ball that Olise shows at just 18-year-old is remarkable, and he could become a crucial part of the side at the Madejski Stadium if he stayed for even just one further season.