Reading had a poor end to the season, but Yakou Meite certainly didn’t. Fresh off winning our March 2021 player of the month award, he’s now done the same for April/May, making him one of two Royals to pick up more than one POTM this season. Previously, Lucas Joao took the award in September and October.
He only managed a narrow win though. Meite (38%) was just ahead of Tom Holmes (34%) and not all that far ahead of Michael Olise (25%). Rafael was a distant fourth though on 3%.
Meite’s win is down to his commendable recent form in front of goal. After returning from his most recent injury, the Ivorian played 11 consecutive matches, scoring six times. That breaks down to three goals in three games in March and three from eight for April/May.
That run stands out in contrast to Reading’s other sources of goals during that period. Olise, who scored twice, was the only other player in those 11 matches to find the net more than once. He’s joined by the single-goal contributions of Ovie Ejaria, Lucas Joao, George Puscas, Tomas Esteves and Josh Laurent.
Meite has shown though that he can score in a few different ways. His six goals in 11 include close-range headers, a looping one over the goalkeeper, and a few runs in behind before finishing with his feet. He’s far from a one-trick pony.
Reading are in a good position in having Meite’s future tied down for a few more years. He’s one of a handful of squad members with a contract that runs beyond the end of next season - in this case to 2023 - so the club can at least ask for that bit more in transfer fee if we choose to cash in this summer.
A year or two ago I would have been alright with that. Meite had previously struck me as a player who was good in the penalty box but struggled to have an impact in open play, particularly due to his poor technical side. This season though he’s gone from strength to strength; his technical ability seems to be improving, as does his ability to make clever runs in behind.
Whether as a right winger or a centre forward, Reading need Meite’s goals to succeed next season.
2020/21 player of the month winners
September: Lucas Joao
October: Lucas Joao
November: Omar Richards
December: Josh Laurent
January: Tom McIntyre
February: Michael Morrison
March: Yakou Meite
April/May: Yakou Meite