Considering the limited number of signings Reading were able to make during the previous window due to their EFL-imposed transfer embargo, the Berkshire outfit couldn’t really afford to let any of their first-teamers leave in the latter stages of the summer.
The Royals had already seen Sam Baldock, Sone Aluko, Sam Walker, Tennai Watson and key full-back Omar Richards depart the Select Car Leasing Stadium on the expiration of their contracts, with Michael Olise leaving for Crystal Palace in an £8m deal and all three of last season’s loanees returning to their parent clubs.
But the Berkshire outfit could be in an even worse situation next summer, with many of their key players out of contract at the end of the campaign and the club yet to tie any of these squad members down to fresh deals, making their January window a particularly interesting one to monitor when the next calendar year comes around.
Quiz: Do you know what club these 28 ex-Reading FC players are playing at now?
The second-tier club have been reluctant to cash in on some of their most valuable assets in recent years, arguably contributing to their sizeable breach of the EFL’s profit and sustainability rules and their likely points deduction.
But with their current injury crisis and lack of depth in a few positions even without players becoming unavailable, can they really sell some of their top players if they want to stay afloat in the Championship?
That remains to be seen, but there are still teams likely to be circling around some of their players regardless of the Royals’ current predicament and we take a look at just two who could attract interest in January.
Starting with the obvious candidate, Football League World understands attacking midfielder Swift has been the subject of interest from Premier League quartet Burnley, Crystal Palace, Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
That’s no real surprise after seeing the 26-year-old, who joined the Royals on a free transfer back in 2016, record 16 goal contributions in 16 Championship games so far this season, scoring eight times and recording six assists.
It could even be argued that the club have relied on Swift too heavily this term, but after finishing seventh last season when the Royals spent the majority of that campaign without him, they could be tempted to cash in and squeeze as much revenue from his potential sale as they possibly can.
His contract runs out next summer which severely weakens the second-tier side’s hand at the negotiating table, and seeing as he’s a vital player and will probably be key in dragging the club away from relegation danger if a points deduction comes into play, they may just decide to keep hold of him until his contract expires.
With Premier League sides monitoring his situation and his current side unlikely to get promoted, it would be hard to see him remaining at the Select Car Leasing Stadium beyond the end of this season.
Laurent was reportedly the subject of a seven-figure bid from Championship rivals Nottingham Forest in the summer, something that came as no real surprise with the former Shrewsbury Town man impressing in his first season in the second tier.
Many people would think the East Midlands side’s change in manager since would cool any potential interest in the 26-year-old, but former boss Chris Hughton didn’t seem to have too much say in the club’s summer recruitment and with their recruitment team seemingly taking charge of targets, they may pursue the central midfielder once again.
Swansea City man Jay Fulton, who previously worked with new manager Steve Cooper in South Wales, was said to be on Forest’s radar. But Laurent is another player whose contract in Berkshire runs out at the end of the season, so they could be tempted to try and negotiate a cut-price deal.
This transfer would be seen as a sideways move at this stage, but Cooper’s men have looked good for the most part in the early stages of the Welshman’s tenure and could tempt the midfielder to arrive at the City Ground if they can continue to climb up the table.
He was Mr Consistent last season for the Royals – and will need to get into that form again if he wishes to move on.