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Danny Loader Calls Time On Reading Career

He was the only one of Reading’s out-of-contract players to not agree even a temporary extension until the end of the season.

Reading v Chelsea - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Not the most surprising news, but it’s been pretty much confirmed that Danny Loader will leave for pastures new next week. The youngster’s contract at Reading is due to expire at the end of this month, and after prolonged unsuccessful negotiations, Loader has rejected any extension to his current deal - even one to cover the rest of this season.

This originally came from manager Mark Bowen, who said in his pre-Stoke City press conference that all out-of-contract players had agreed to extensions until the end of this campaign - except Loader. This was later put out officially by the club too, although they clarified that a deal for Loader remains on the table:

“The offer of a longer-term contract remains on the table for Danny should he wish to continue to represent the Royals for the remaining six games of this season and keep progressing his career in RG2 beyond the conclusion of the 2019-20 campaign.”

Bowen said of Loader:

“He’s at the stage with his advisors and his family wondering where he’s going to be next season so he has decided not to sign a contract extension. From next Tuesday he is basically finished with the club. He won’t be able to play any more games so it looks like Danny will be moving on to pastures new.”

It’s an unceremonious end to the Reading career of a youngster that once offered so much promise. Loader’s impressive form in the youth setup, not to mention involvement with England, had all of us excited, with the forward even becoming the first 21st-century-born academy graduate to appear for the Royals when he came off the bench in the League Cup in 2017 at the age of 16.

However, having scored just twice across 35 appearances in all competitions for Reading, it’s fair to say Loader never really got to grips with senior football in Berkshire. Those two strikes - a long-range drive at Middlesbrough and deft flick at home to Blackpool - were mere flashes of his ability.

So what went wrong for Loader? For Marc, it was a case of a fairy tale between player and club that was never supposed to be, while Olly argued that Loader was a victim of expectation at Reading, having promised so much during his years in the youth setup.

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

Either way, it’s a belated exit for a player who, having been linked with the likes of Borussia Monchengladbach and Wolfsburg in late 2018, looked set for a Premier League move to Wolves last summer. However, the plug on that transfer was pulled at the last minute. TTE also understands that there was firm and genuine interest in January from Norwich City, who made strong attempts to sign Loader.

I personally wouldn’t be surprised at all if the youngster were to end up at one of those two clubs after he leaves Reading.

Elsewhere, Bowen confirmed that talks are ongoing between Reading and some (note: not all) out-of-contract players about them staying into 2020/21. Although Bowen didn’t say who exactly those players are, it’ll be any of Chris Gunter, Tyler Blackett, Jordan Obita, Garath McCleary, Gabriel Osho and Charlie Adam.

Reading also have some loan players’ futures to consider. Although Ovie Ejaria is currently due to make a permanent switch to Berkshire when his temporary deal ends, the situation is more open ended with Matt Miazga, Pele, Lucas Boye and Ayub Timbe. Bowen said:

“It’s a delicate situation with the loan players but we are progressing well with them and talks over extending their contracts.”

Although the deadline to agree extensions with out-of-contract players was a few days ago, Reading still have until the end of the month to do the same with loan players.