Reading have announced the sale of young forward Thierry Nevers to West Ham United, which will go through when the transfer window opens on June 9.
It’s unexpected news, seeing as we thought he’d be leaving on a free transfer upon the expiration of his contract this summer. The 19 year-old was included in Reading’s recent retained list alongside Femi Azeez and James Holden as a player offered a new deal to stay on.
Hopes of keeping him were dashed when Nevers himself announced three days later that he’d be moving on from the Madejski Stadium. After rumours emerged yesterday (May 24) that Nevers would be heading to East London, a transfer was officially announced by both clubs - but as a sale.
Reading explained that a one-year extension clause in Nevers’ contract was activated this summer, enabling them to receive a transfer fee. That fee is undisclosed; given Nevers is a talented player, but one with past injury problems and a deal expiring in 2022, you’d think Reading have got a modest but not huge amount for him.
Nevers has agreed a three-year contract at West Ham with the option of another. He told the Hammers’ website: “This move is probably the biggest step in my career so far. I feel very excited to see what the future holds – there’s a lot of opportunity here.”
West Ham academy manager Ricky Martin (nope, not the singer) said Nevers was a long-term target: “Thierry is someone that we’ve been following for the last couple of seasons. He’s put in some very impressive performances, and we’re really excited to introduce him to the U23s squad.”
All in all, it’s a bittersweet moment. On the plus side, Reading get a fee when we didn’t think they would (very useful when money is tight due to Covid-19 and FFP) and Nevers gets a move to a Premier League club with a highly regarded academy. Given that he was out injured for a year until January, bouncing back and making this step up to the top flight is impressive.
But, of course, it’s still disappointing to see him leave. You’d have thought Nevers would get plenty of game time next season, given his own talent, Reading’s need for wide players and the difficulty in signing new ones.
It’s also the end of a long association with the Royals: Nevers had been with hometown club Reading for nine years. That led to his first and only involvement with the senior side - being named on the bench by Jose Gomes for a League Cup trip to Plymouth Argyle - before he agreed a professional contract in early 2020.
It’s a real shame that we didn’t get to see more of Nevers at Reading. We wish him all the very best at West Ham and wherever his career takes him after that.