Finally, finally, Reading have their first signing of the summer. The Royals have brought in central midfielder Tom Dele-Bashiru from Watford; the 21 year-old is set to spend the entirety of this season on loan in Berkshire, although the Hornets have a recall option that can be exercised in January.
TDB very much fits into the mould of “young player who needs regular football”. Highly rated at Vicarage Road, he would have featured for far more than the two Championship appearances he got last season, only to be sidelined for the campaign with an ACL injury picked up during the Royals’ 1-0 win at the Mad Stad.
Given that the bulk of career so far has come in Manchester City’s youth system (he joined Watford in 2019), his stay at Reading is set to be his first taste of regular first-team football.
“Tom is a very creative, clever, talented young player who adds much-needed strength to our midfield. Importantly as a loanee, he is a player who fits our identity – someone who gives his best, stays positive, overcomes adversity and will never give up. I am really looking forward to working with him and helping him integrate into the squad we are trying to build at Reading.”
Although this signing doesn’t address one of the most problematic positions in Reading’s squad - left back and out wide - Dele-Bashiru will still be a useful option for the Royals’ midfield. Alongside Josh Laurent, Andy Rinomhota, Felipe Araruna and Dejan Tetek, Pauno now has the depth and variety to rotate if need be, or use some of those players elsewhere - such as Araruna going to right back or Tetek playing as a 10, both of which the manager has shown he’s willing to do.
Ball carrying midfielder. Did his ACL against you boys actually and at the time was our best player on the pitch. But he’s a good long distance shooter, can carry the ball progressively really well, good shielder of the ball. Needs to work on final ball, but the potential is high— • (@loupirolo) August 12, 2021
It’s been a long wait for Reading to get anyone in through the door this summer. Previously under a transfer embargo, the Royals have apparently struggled to get clarity over what business can be done. Dele-Bashiru’s arrival however not only signals that clarity has been attained, but also that previous suggestions that loan signings this season would only be allowed to last half a season are wide of the mark.
Hopefully Reading can follow up the arrival of Dele-Bashiru with a few more in quick succession. Winger Kadeem Harris has been on trial since the Crystal Palace pre-season friendly, while left-back Yuri Ribeiro began to be strongly linked with a move soon after news of Dele-Bashiru joining emerged. Both Harris and Ribeiro are free agents.