Amid all the talk of outgoings, Reading have actually managed to sign someone. Say hello to Zane Monlouis, who’s joined on loan for the rest of the season from Arsenal.
Monlouis, 20, is a centre-back who’s exclusively featured for Arsenal’s youth sides so far, including captaining their under-21 side. He’s also played under Gunners under-21 boss Mehmet Ali, who formerly had a similar role at Reading.
One of Monlouis’ appearances for the Gunners came against Reading this season in fact, getting 78 minutes (and the armband) in a Pizza Cup game which ended 5-2 to the Royals. Otherwise his senior-level experience is limited to another seven EFL Trophy outings.
Style-wise, Monlouis is a right-footed, ball-playing centre-back who predominantly plays on the left side of a pairing. He told Goal:
“I’d say I’m strongest when I’m in possession. I’m composed on the ball and I can pick out a pass. I feel like I can always progress the team forward from the back, whether it’s a long pass, or breaking a line into a midfielder. That’s my strongest attribute.”
Zane Monlouis, a very talented young CB, is inching towards a loan move to Reading for the rest of the season. Monlouis is excellent on the ball, comfortable in possession, reads the game well. Senior experience will help him raise his composure in sticky situations. pic.twitter.com/WqsaJrwqWT— Hale End Productions (@HaleEndProds) February 1, 2024
Financially this is probably the best Reading could come up with this month: a loan deal for a young player with the parent club presumably paying all/almost all of their wages. There could also well be involvement from a certain Kia Joorabchian: Monlouis is represented by Sports Invest, which is owned by Joorabchian.
The long and the short of it is that we have no idea how well he’ll do here (young loanees are hard to get a read on), but Reading were in need of reinforcements at the back. Getting an extra body in is useful, let alone with an intense run of fixtures coming up.
Nelson Abbey and Tom McIntyre have both departed on permanent transfers, while Tom Holmes was also sold but returned on loan. That left Holmes and Tyler Bindon as the starting pair, with most other options in the squad either better deployed at full-back (Amadou Mbengue, Jeriel Dorsett, Clinton Mola) or on the bench (Harlee Dean).