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OPINION: The Likes Of Richards And McIntyre Have Proved Their Worth – Now It’s Time To Give Them New Contracts

Will it help to secure our long-term future - especially financially?

Derby County v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Unfortunately, guys and gals, it’s not another 3,500 word manifesto for Mr Dai to digest.

The message of this piece is quite simple really – let’s get the likes of Tom McIntyre and Omar Richards tied down to new deals.

I know what you are probably all thinking right now: “why didn’t you just tweet this out?”. Well, I could have done and you have a point – but this is just too important to not be covered in an extended piece. Naturally, our focus has turned to making new signings in the transfer window as we look to build on the progress made last season.

Rodrigo Riquelme will give us a different option going forward, Perry Ng would give us the cover we sorely need with Andy Yiadom’s absence and Lewis Gibson could enable us to switch up the tactics and play a back three.

Whilst these signings are important as we strive to have strength in depth, securing contract extensions for the likes of McIntyre, Richards and Michael Olise will be key to improving our prospects for the long-term future.

I said this before and I’ll say this again: Tom McIntyre has the potential to become a future captain at Reading Football Club. With natural leaders like Yiadom, Liam Moore and Michael Morrison playing alongside him, not only will he continue to develop his defensive skills, but it will also allow him to lead the team in the future if all three leave the club before he does.

Reading v Luton Town - Carabao Cup Second Round Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images

The Scottish youth international also has the ability to keep the likes of Moore and Morrison out of the starting lineup if his performances last season were anything to go by. However, his contract runs out next summer and I want him to stay at the club for many years to come. This is not just because he’s an academy graduate – but also because he has the potential to go on and be one of the best players in Berkshire.

Omar Richards’ contract also runs out next summer. His performances against Derby County and Barnsley were outstanding – and will establish himself as our first choice left back for many years to come if a bigger team doesn’t come in for him. Mr Dai loves to keep his prized assets – but if we can tie him down to a long term deal – the club may receive a lucrative offer that could be hard to resist.

Financially and for the future of the club, it can only make sense to hand out new deals. Whilst we need to keep an eye on our Financial Fair Play figures (if they aren’t frozen this season), are any of these guys on high wages? I highly doubt it. The Royals may need to stump up the cash if they are to persuade Olise to stay, especially with the amount of interest he will generate. It will be a worthy investment though and is highly likely to pay off in the future.

Even though the 18-year-old’s contract expires in 2022, getting a deal done early can only help to reduce nervousness about the prospect of him going for free and perhaps make negotiations that little bit easier. His agent could be a tricky customer (understandably) with the promise Olise shows on the pitch, let’s act now rather than later.

The same applies with Andy Rinomhota, who has become a key player for us over the past couple of seasons. He attracted interest from Leeds United last December – let’s also get him tied down to a new deal, or we face losing him in 2022.

Like Olise, negotiating a new contract for Luke Southwood may also be tricky but for a different reason. Like Gabriel Osho, Southwood will also be wanting regular first team football sooner rather than later and may decide to move on when his deal expires in 2021, if Rafael keeps him out the starting 11 for the remainder of this season.

You have to feel he will get a chance if Rafael does move on in the next 12 months – but Reading will be keen to keep hold of the Brazilian, possibly to the detriment of our academy graduate goalkeeper. The emergence of Coniah Boyce-Clarke may also prove costly to him – we can only hope he gets the chance he deserves to prove himself on a more regular basis.

The one thing I feel most strongly about is giving academy graduates the chance to shine if they’re good enough – and making sure we give out contracts to the right players is vital. I personally hope the club can get this done and dusted as soon as possible.

Two guys beat me to it – and it would only be fair to give them a shout out for it! I couldn’t have put it any better myself chaps.