It’s taken until the closing stages of the summer transfer window, but that elusive left-back spot in the squad has finally been filled.
The new signing in question is none other than Baba Rahman, a player we’re familiar with after his spell at Reading in 2021/22. The 28-year-old has now finalised a return to the Royals on the same basis as his first stint: a loan deal which is set to last for the duration of this campaign. He’s Reading’s 11th summer signing.
Head of football operations Mark Bowen said:
“Through his energetic, wholehearted and powerful performances on the pitch and his infectious character off it, Baba became something of a fans’ favourite here at Reading last season. Since the day his loan spell ended in the summer, we have been hoping to bring him back and I am very pleased we have been able to secure his services for the 2022-23 campaign.”
While Paul Ince added:
”A natural left-back with experience at the very highest level has been a clear priority in our recruitment plans this summer and, while we have had to be patient, we are now excited to welcome Baba back to the club! Our fans know all about what he can bring to this squad and what we are trying to achieve this season and I’m really looking forward to working with him again this season!”
Given the frustration of how long the left-back search has taken, it's reassuring that Reading have managed to bring in a player of a good standard. Despite being part of a leaky defence and poor team overall last season, Rahman is still individually talented. There's certainly a good player in there for Paul Ince and co. to work with.
Reading are getting a wing back who is experienced, will take little time to settle into the club and is durable. Rahman only missed six games through injury last season (a hamstring problem), ending the campaign with 29 appearances.
He'll be a good fit tactically too. Reading need a wingback capable of providing real attacking threat on the left side, and Rahman should provide that. Hopefully he'll get more opportunities to push forward as a wingback than he did in last season's fullback role.
Rahman is a good signing but not a great one. He's not the most solid defensively, so Reading will have to get value out of him as an attacking threat, while direct goal involvements were lacking last season. He didn't score and only managed one assist.
All things considered though, he's still probably as good a player as we could have wanted. What's more, those shortcomings can be worked on.
And the bigger picture is that Reading finally have some depth at left wing back. Rahman will be the fourth player to take that role this season after Nesta Guiness-Walker, Junior Hoilett and Tom McIntyre. While Rahman is likely to be the established first choice, he's not undroppable and will be subject to competition for his spot.
Welcome home Baba!