With just 10-days go until the close of the transfer window, speculation is hotting up over just who Reading might be able to bring in before deadline day. We know Jaap Stam wants a forward, as well as another midfielder and defender, yet it’s the hunt for a frontman that’s dominated fan discussion pretty much the entire summer.
With Jon Dadi Bodvarsson out for a few weeks and Yann Kermorgant missing a fair few months, that desire for a new forward has only intensified and over the past 48-hours or so, two names have cropped back into the picture.
The first is Nahki Wells, with Huddersfield Head Coach David Wagner admitting that he’s prepared to let him go if a ‘serious offer’ is made. Rumours swirled a month ago that Reading had made a £10 million pound offer for the striker and while Jaap Stam dismissed talk of spending that much on any player, he did admit Reading had interest in Wells.
That talk soon subsided when Wells picked up an ankle problem, yet he’s since had successful surgery to fix the issue and Wagner is optimistic he’ll be fit within the next three to four weeks.
While signing anyone on the recovery trail is risky, it should now be possible for Reading to have a much better idea of what that risk is and if they’re prepared to take it.
However, we’re seemingly not alone in our interest, with the Huddersfield Examiner suggesting Wolves and Leeds are both also sniffing around, with the later now having a juicy £12m to play with after selling Chris Wood to Burnley.
So if not Wells, could Brighton’s Tomer Hemed be the man to come in?
The Reading Chronicle is reporting that the club have made a fresh approach for the Israel striker, after seemingly having a £4m bid shot down back in July. The paper is also claiming that this new bid has also been rejected, due in part to Brighton boss Chris Hughton being short on attacking options. However, with Hemed currently relegated to bench duties, he’d seemingly be the odd man out if Albion decide to bolster their forward ranks before the deadline.
Personally I’d consider either man a great addition to our squad right now and both would provide a much welcome injection of goals to Stam’s side. Wells has bagged 28 in the last two campaigns and Hemed 31, totals higher than any current Reading player has managed over that same period.
Both are also in their primes with a good few years left in them, with Wells aged just 27 and Hemed 30, so either of the pair should hold on to their transfer values for a while yet, limiting the risks of us signing them.
Yet finances would seemingly be the big issue here, with neither player looking cheap. Spending £10m on Wells would be a gigantic financial commitment for a football club that had a total turnover of £27m in 2015/16, and that was in a campaign with £10m worth of parachute payments that we no longer have. Conservatively that would put our standard income around the £20m mark so committing such a huge fee to one player would be a big gamble. Even the £4m for Hemed seems steep but that’s a fee that does seem more reasonable (if you can call it that...) in 2017.
Either way you get the feeling we’ll be leaving this late rather than stumping up the money now. With the financial position we’re in, we need to try and get the best value possible and my gut instinct says we’re more likely to get that AFTER the likes of Brighton, Huddersfield and others are comfortable with the options they have. Once the big fish have settled on who they really want, they may just be open to taking a bit less to get unwanted players off the books.
So watch this space folks, I’m sure the rumour mill will churn out a few more names over the next week and a bit!