Reading have signed a new ‘keeper... again. This time it’s Orjan Nyland, arriving on a deal until the end of the season to replace former Arsenal loanee Karl Hein whose season was sadly ended by injury. He’s the Royals’ 11th addition of the campaign, and sixth free agent.
In isolation, getting a new goalie in makes sense given the lack of established cover. This dates back to the departure of Rafael Cabral, whose contract was terminated in January to allow him a move back to Brazil.
Coniah Boyce-Clarke has been on the bench recently but, despite short-term non-league loan experience this season and two shoot-out saves in Wednesday’s Berks and Bucks Cup win over Chesham United, isn’t ready to be relied on in the Championship if needed. Otherwise, Jokull Andresson is back from a loan spell but injured.
I’ll let you make your own mind up on whether a defender was more of a priority though, given how light Reading have been there due to injury. For me , signing one who’d be good enough to actually make an impact at first-team level would have been easier said than done. At least with Nyland, Reading have a player of seriously challenging for a starting spot each week.
Either way, Paul Ince confirmed this week (before the signing) that Reading definitely wanted a new ‘keeper and not a defender:
“Now we are at 23 or 24 so we’re hoping to get a goalkeeper in on Thursday and that will leave us with one more spot. We’ve got Dann back though and with Holmes and McIntyre playing, we’ve got enough defenders.”
As for the arrival of Nyland, CEO Dayong Pang said:
“Competition for places right across the pitch remains so important and, with the arrival of Orjan, we have added invaluable experience and a goalkeeper with both Premier League and international pedigree who is eager to compete for the gloves and help us earn results. I’m very pleased to welcome him to Reading Football Club.”
On the face of it, 31-year-old Nyland brings decent pedigree. At league level in recent years he’s been at Aston Villa, Norwich City and Bournemouth - his most recent club. He departed the Cherries at the end of January due to a calf problem that, at the time, was set to keep him out for six to eight weeks.
However, he’s not been a regular starter for a while now, much like a lot of Reading’s 2021/22 signings. Without wanting to sound too harsh, given the Royals’ lack of funds and pulling power, a recently injured ‘keeper who’s not been a regular starter in recent years is probably as good as we could have got.
He last played more than 10 times in a single league campaign in 2018/19 for Aston Villa in the Championship. Since then he’s largely been restricted to a handful of appearances here and there for Villa and Bournemouth, while not playing at all for Norwich. Earlier on his career though, he had spells in his homeland of Norway with Hodd and Molde, before joining German side FC Ingolstadt in 2015. His move to Villa came three years later.
Nyland is also a Norwegian international, having played 33 times since his debut nine years ago. While his involvement was at its greatest until 2016, Nyland’s also started Norway’s last five World Cup qualifiers.