Reading are interested in signing out-of-contract wingers Yannick Bolasie and Junior Hoilett, according to Berkshire Live.
With the duo being released from Everton and Cardiff City respectively this summer, the Royals can make a contract offer to both even with the club currently operating under a transfer embargo.
Under the EFL’s current rules, they are able to complete loan deals and sign free agents, providing the players’ wages are ‘sensible’. This has opened the door for the Royals to pursue these reported targets and could be about to make their first signings of the window after a noticeable lack of movement at the Madejski Stadium in recent months.
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Michael Olise’s confirmed move to Crystal Palace yesterday afternoon could speed up negotiations on these two potential deals – and with just four weeks to go until the start of the season – it’s now time for the Championship side to make their move in the transfer market.
And with these potential deals in mind, we take a look at two potential knock-ons that could happen in Berkshire if they were to get this double signing over the line.
Ejaria to play more centrally?
For the last year or two, Reading fans have argued over whether Ovie Ejaria is a central advanced midfielder or a winger. The Royals’ lack of options out wide in recent years has meant he’s often been utilised on the left-wing, much to the displeasure of those who want to see him make more of an impact on the middle.
When given the occasional chance to operate in the centre of the pitch, the 23-year-old has shone and even assisted Sone Aluko as they went 2-0 up at Bournemouth from this position.
Michael Olise’s departure leaves Reading with one less option on the wing, but also leaves them with one less central option with the 19-year-old playing in both roles last season.
John Swift, who is the current first-choice attacking midfielder, missed a chunk of last season through injury as well so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Ejaria get more chances to play in the middle with Bolasie and Hoilett either side of him.
Young wide man Femi Azeez is also on the cusp of breaking into the first team after signing a new contract, so his involvement may influence where Royals manager Veljko Paunovic plays him next season.
A different dimension going forward
Reading’s lack of wingers and threat out wide has not just been a problem for the club this summer, but also proved to be costly last season.
With key striker Lucas Joao out of form towards the end of the campaign and inconsistencies starting to creep in, ultimately costing the Championship outfit a place in the play-offs, you just felt they needed something different going forward.
Former Swansea City man Mo Barrow is the last exciting winger the Royals have had – and the Gambian’s ability to frighten Championship full-backs has been sorely missing since his departure to South Korea last summer.
The signings of Bolasie and Hoilett could change the game for the Berkshire side.