It’s been a while since Reading last dipped into the lower leagues for a new addition, but that’s exactly what we’ve done with our first signing of the summer. Josh Laurent has joined from Shrewsbury Town on a free transfer, with Reading reportedly nipping in ahead of a few Championship rivals to get their man.
So what exactly will Laurent offer? We spoke to Ollie from Salopcast, a podcast covering all things Shrewsbury Town. You can find them on Twitter here, and thanks to Ollie for giving us the lowdown on Reading’s new arrival.
How would you sum up Josh Laurent’s time at Shrewsbury?
Laurent has had two solid years at Salop. Last season he played the most games of any player. Laurent has been reliable and consistent performer in a side that has struggled and played overly defensive football. Laurent has often been the standout performer and as such became a fans’ favourite. His legacy will be scoring the third goal in the 3-2 win away at Stoke, coming back from 2-0 down at half time.
What style of midfielder is he?
Laurent is a versatile midfielder who can play a number of roles: box to box, attacking midfield and right/left in a front three. I think his best role would be playing in a midfield three, with an emphasis on getting into and around the box.
What are his main strengths and weaknesses?
Strengths – athleticism, stamina, work rate, good passer of the ball, strong in possession and a good dribbler. Laurent is very adept at playing on the counter attack, driving the ball forward. Laurent is an intelligent player and a good decision maker who rarely chooses the wrong option.
Weaknesses – an asterisk needs to be placed on his goals and assist figures due to the defensive style of football employed by Sam Ricketts. Shrewsbury had the 22nd (out of 23) worst goal scoring record in League One last season with 0.9 goals per game. Laurent needs to improve his goal scoring and the number of assists he provides to establish himself as a Championship player.
What’s his character like?
Laurent seems to be one of the good guys. Laurent enjoys celebrating goals and post-match celebrations with the fans with his cheeky smile. Laurent has a top-notch work rate and isn’t one of the players who would come in for criticism for work rate or shirking a challenge.
On the whole, is he a good signing for Reading?
Yes. Laurent is 25 so he has his best years ahead of him. He has been one of our best players in the two seasons in Shropshire and is rarely injured. We have seen Laurent develop and improve as a player, so there is no reason why he cannot progress further at Reading. He is from London, so I expect him to settle quickly.