It’s currently unclear when Reading will release their retained list. Will it be published imminently with Mark Bowen taking control? Or will he wait until a new manager enters the building? That remains to be seen, but Adam has taken a look at what it should look like.
First up, here’s how Reading’s squad situation looks overall. Players in white are in contract beyond the summer (with contract length shown), those in grey are out of contract, and those for whom contract status isn’t known are in grey with a question mark.
Out of contract: Luke Southwood, Coniah Boyce-Clarke
Return to parent club: Joe Lumley
Keep: Luke Southwood (a maybe), Jokull Andresson, Coniah Boyce-Clarke
Transfer list: Dean Bouzanis
With Joe Lumley leaving the club following the end of his loan stay in Berkshire, Luke Southwood could be given the opportunity to start between the sticks next term after a decent spell at Cheltenham Town.
Ideally, it would be him or a new shot-stopper as a starter, with either Andresson or Boyce-Clarke on the bench. Although it may be good for both of the latter two to go out on loan, all it could take is one injury for one of them to be firmly involved as the 2008/09 and 2021/22 campaigns showed.
With Andresson already having some EFL experience under his belt, perhaps he should be second-choice ‘keeper with Boyce-Clarke making a temporary exit. Whether the latter will sign a new contract remains to be seen though.
Bouzanis is an experienced option, but has he blown anyone’s socks off this season? I’m not too sure. I wouldn’t mind seeing him leave, but who would come in for him? Probably no one.
Out of contract: Nesta Guinness-Walker
Return to parent club: Baba Rahman
Keep: Nesta Guinness-Walker, John Clarke, Andy Yiadom, Kelvin Abrefa
Guinness-Walker has probably done enough to earn a new deal this summer, but it would be good to see him at wing-back rather than in a more defensive role. When given the chance to push forward, he showed during the early stages of the 2022/23 campaign that can be an asset.
A new left-back will need to come in to compete for his starting spot though, unless John Clarke turns into Roberto Carlos during pre-season. He may need time to get back into his rhythm following a long-term injury setback and it’s unclear where he’s at in his recovery.
On the right, Yiadom and Abrefa are a good duo to have, although I wouldn’t mind offloading the former if a suitable bid comes in for him. If he does leave, a replacement will be required.
Out of contract: Amadou Mbengue, Scott Dann, Liam Moore
Keep: Amadou Mbengue, Sam Hutchinson, Tom Holmes, Tom McIntyre, Naby Sarr, Nelson Abbey, Louie Holzman
Release: Scott Dann, Liam Moore
Trial: Jeriel Dorsett (if his deal expires this summer)
There’s no point in even trying to offload Hutchinson because no one will come in for him considering his injury record. He could be a real asset for us if he can stay fit for at least a chunk of next season though.
A new contract should be given to Mbengue (he probably won’t sign it though) and, if we can retain the likes of Sarr and Holmes, that would be ideal too. McIntyre should be useful in this division, but I wouldn’t mind the club using him as more of a versatile option from the bench rather than starting him regularly.
Holzman is here for two more years but Dorsett’s contract situation is unclear. It would be good to see him in pre-season, so I would give him a trial if his deal is set to run out. Abbey should be retained and potentially sent on loan, but Dann should probably retire now and Moore has to be released.
Out of contract: Dejan Tetek
Return to parent club: Mamadou Loum, Jeff Hendrick, Tyrese Fornah, Cesare Casadei
Keep: Jack Senga, Michael Craig
Trial: Dejan Tetek, Kian Leavy (if his deal expires this summer)
19-year-old Senga looks to be a good prospect, so he should probably be retained along with Craig who has been involved in the first team.
Leavy’s contract situation is unclear at this point, so it will be interesting to see if he stays. At 21, is it time to try and offload him if his deal doesn’t expire this summer? And if he is about to become a free agent, would it be a good idea to give him a trial before deciding whether to tie him to a new contract?
Tetek faces an uncertain future after an injury-hit season. Is he another player we should be looking to give a trial to? Or should he be given another chance now we’re in League One?
There are plenty of issues to deal with in midfield - and a rebuild in this area is a must.
Hendrick and Loum shouldn’t return, Fornah should only come in if we can negotiate a very modest six-figure fee with Nottingham Forest and it would be difficult to see Casadei returning from Chelsea.
Out of contract: Yakou Meite, Junior Hoilett
Keep: Tom Ince, Mamadi Camara, Femi Azeez
Release: Yakou Meite, Junior Hoilett
Transfer List: Ovie Ejaria
It will be extremely hard to let go of Meite but we won’t be able to afford him in the third tier, so he’ll have to go.
Hoilett is another player who may move on this summer. He may have done well at wing-back this season, but has he given us enough in the final third? Probably not. It would probably be good for all parties if he moves on. A fresh start for all is needed.
Ince may attract interest during the summer and, if a decent bid comes in for him, I wouldn’t be against us letting him go despite his contributions during 2022/23. Ejaria is a player who certainly should be let go, but it would be difficult to see him attracting any offers this summer.
Camara and Azeez are two players to keep, but both need to be more of a threat in the final third next season. If they can get some goals and assists under their belt, that will raise their confidence.
Out of contract: Lucas Joao, Shane Long
Keep: Andy Carroll, Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan, Jahmari Clarke
Release: Lucas Joao, Shane Long
Departing: George Puscas
We can’t afford to keep Joao even if we wanted to and it’s probably time for Long to retire now.
Carroll could be an asset next season but I wouldn’t be too bothered if he leaves. Puscas is definitely on his way following Genoa’s promotion and, even if he wasn’t, he had to go on the transfer list.
Youngsters Ehibhatiomhan and Clarke should either be given the chance to shine in the first team or be sent out on loan, though many supporters will want to see them stay.
Regardless of whether they leave or loan or not, new additions in the forward department will be required.
GKs: Jokull Andresson, Coniah Boyce-Clarke
FBs: Nesta Guinness-Walker, John Clarke, Andy Yiadom, Kelvin Abrefa
CBs: Amadou Mbengue, Sam Hutchinson, Tom Holmes, Tom McIntyre, Naby Sarr, Nelson Abbey, Louie Holzman
CMs: Jack Senga, Michael Craig
AMs/wingers: Tom Ince, Mamadi Camara, Femi Azeez
STs: Andy Carroll, Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan, Jahmari Clarke
Players in italics could be viewed as “youngsters”. I’m counting Abrefa as a first-teamer now.
Scott Dann, Liam Moore, Yakou Meite, Junior Hoilett, Lucas Joao, Shane Long
Dean Bouzanis, Ovie Ejaria
Returning to parent club:
Joe Lumley, Baba Rahman, Mamadou Loum, Jeff Hendrick, Tyrese Fornah, Cesare Casadei
Jeriel Dorsett (if his deal expires this summer), Dejan Tetek, Kian Leavy (if his deal expires this summer)