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Joe Pigott: The Next Josh Laurent?

Adam explains why signing out-of-contract forward Pigott would be smart business for Reading.

AFC Wimbledon v Fleetwood Town - Sky Bet League One Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

You may recognise AFC Wimbledon striker Joe Pigott’s name from previous windows.

The 27-year-old was linked with a move to the Madejski Stadium in 2019 – but has continued to impress even more recently and scored 20 goals in League One last season. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he bagged those goals in a Wimbledon side that struggled in the third tier last season and finished 19th in the table.

This summer, his contract at Plough Lane expires, and numerous sides are currently interested in acquiring Pigott’s services. Although it’s currently unknown whether the Royals are one of the clubs lining up a move for the 27-year-old, they should be all over this with Sam Baldock leaving the club.

Other positions like wide midfield and left back need to be the priority at the Madejski Stadium over the next few months, but the futures of Lucas Joao and George Puscas are uncertain and Reading could potentially swoop in and secure the in-form man on a free transfer.

At 27, Pigott is entering the peak of his years and the Royals would probably be able to get at least a few good seasons out of him. It would be a low-risk bit of business and at a time of such financial uncertainty in Berkshire, these are exactly the type of deals we should be looking at this summer.

As I said, we also need to strengthen other areas so the bulk of our financial resources should be devoted to those positions and signing our existing players down to new deals. Just seeing the number of key players out of contract next year makes me feel queasy.

But this is why we should be targeting Pigott - with no transfer fee to agree, a reasonably modest salary likely to be accepted and the 6’2 forward able to play up front on his own.

The free singing of former Shrewsbury Town midfielder Josh Laurent last year was a masterstroke - and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Pigott become one of our top performers alongside the 26-year-old next season if he puts pen to paper on a deal.

While he would have to make the step up like Laurent has, the small gamble is worth it compared to paying out on inflated wages and high transfer/loan fees. We can only hope the intelligent Michael Morrison and Laurent signings are a sign of things to come, not just for this summer, but also for the long term.

With our EFL-imposed embargoes in recent years, we know how frustrating it can be for clubs who don’t abide by the profit and sustainability rules – and we’ve even been lucky (so far) compared to the likes of Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday who have suffered points deductions in recent years.

Let’s try and get ourselves away from this charade of restrictions over the next few years. We’ve already cut most of the deadwood - now is the time to do some shrewd business on the incomings front.

With Pigott announcing his Wimbledon departure and clubs now circling, the Royals need to move in and secure a deal before he ends up somewhere else.