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The Royal State Of Affairs: Central Midfield

Welcome back ye Tilehurst Enders as we continue to look at our squad depth heading into the transfer window. Today we look at the engine room, the centre of midfield.

Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

What we've lost

Chief among the departures is Danny Guthrie who came to Reading hoping for an England call-up and left the club unable to displace a player signed from Crawley (no offence Hope). Also following him out of the door were a pair of Chelsea loanees in Nathaniel Chalobah and Nathan Ake, though both would be considerably more welcome back than the former Liverpool man. Youngster Ryan Edwards was released, while club captain Jem Karacan is out of contract and has yet to agree new terms.

What we've got now

Despite losing four to five big names, Reading still have a few decent performers in the middle of the park. The aforementioned Hope Akpan has shown himself to be a solid performer, while Danny Williams recently impressed for the USA against The Netherlands and Germany to show he's finally returning to his best. Oliver Norwood had a very impressive first half of 2014/15 before falling behind Chalobah in the pecking order. Aaron Kuhl showed glimpses of his talent early last year and is a year older and wiser, with fellow Academy graduate Aaron Tshibola helping Hartlepool to a great escape while on loan in League Two last season. Jordan Obita and Jake Taylor can also fill in, while Hal Robson-Kanu has also been tried in the position.

What we need

If Karacan departs then you feel another energetic and tough tackling midfielder will be high on Steve Clarke's list. A classy ballplayer to replace Chalobah and Ake is also high on the to do list while Reading have lacked a true goalscoring midfielder ever since Gylfi Sigurdsson left the club. With all that being said, the exploits of Kuhl and Tshibola at youth level and in their fleeting league appearances warrant a good hard look during pre-season and if they excel, this could be an area that Clarke might leave largely alone, at least in terms of permanent signings.

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