It’s yet another player out the door as Reading say goodbye to Caylan Vickers. The 19-year-old has been sold to Brighton & Hove Albion for an undisclosed fee, signing a three-and-a-half-year deal. He’ll be with the Seagulls’ youth setup initially.
Vickers is the fifth academy player to have been cashed in on this month. Reading previously sold Tom Holmes, Nelson Abbey and Tom McIntyre, before also letting Taylan Harris go to Luton Town earlier on Deadline Day.
A move to Brighton is well deserved for a player who’s enjoyed a breakout season in 2023/24, albeit an imperfect one. Vickers made his debut on the opening day against Peterborough United, going on to play another 21 times in all competitions for the first team, scoring three times and registering three assists.
He was at his best earlier on in the season, being a first-team regular for the first half-dozen matches or so. However, he got less game time after fellow strikers Dom Ballard and then Sam Smith came onto the scene, and then never really looked at home in the 4-1-4-1 Reading adopted in late October.
Vickers had previously looked much stronger in the 4-2-2-2, playing alongside Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan up top. That formation gave him a pretty free role in possession, allowing him to drift around to find space in the final third. In the 4-1-4-1 however he was too lightweight a player to really stand out in Reading’s midfield four, typically being used out wide but struggling.
So cashing in on him is probably one of the more sensible sales Reading could have made this month, especially considering that he’ll have likely fetched a decent transfer fee and there should be a sell-on included. Brighton are excellent at developing players before selling them on, so that’ll hopefully benefit Reading down the line.
It’s still a big shame to see him depart in this way though. We only got to see half a season from a really talented player, one who’s been a joy to watch this season, with Reading having to cash in to bring in funds for the running of the club.
Best of luck Caylan!