While many other sides in the Championship are conducting their business early ahead of pre-season, Reading are still yet to make a signing in this transfer window.
This could be due to the fact the Royals are currently under a transfer embargo, which will put severe limitations on what they can do in the market this summer.
And this news is no real surprise, with the Berkshire outfit losing £90m in their last three sets of financial accounts and these sanctions are set to continue for the foreseeable future.
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With this, Reading boss Veljko Paunovic will be turning to some of his younger players once again next season – with the likes of Michael Olise, Dejan Tetek and Tom Holmes already breaking through the academy and earning senior minutes in the pitch last year.
But who’s next to come through the Royals’ academy and make their mark in the 2021/22 campaign? Here are two young players we could be seeing a lot more next season.
The 18-year-old already has a few senior appearances for the Royals, playing in the Carabao and FA Cups in the last campaign. However, he is yet to make his Championship debut and that’s something he will want to change next year.
Sam Baldock will leave the Royals when his contract expires at the end of the month and with the futures of George Puscas and Lucas Joao uncertain, he could be heavily involved next year.
Getting a replacement for Baldock will not be at the top of Veljko Paunovic’s transfer wish list with a new left-back and wingers the priority for the Royals – and Melvin-Lambert could get his chance after impressing for the Under-23s squad.
After coming so close to scoring his first senior goal against Luton Town in January, now is the time for the teenager to impress Paunovic in pre-season, play for the Royals more regularly next season and grab a few goals.
If he can do that in the next year, he’s done a good job.
Somehow, Bristow is Reading’s current first choice left-back. Omar Richards’ departure to Bayern Munich and the return of Lewis Gibson (naturally a centre defender) and Tomas Esteves (usually plays on the right) to their parent clubs has left the Royals looking very light in this position.
22-year-old centre-back Tom McIntyre, who has reportedly signed a new three-year deal with the Royals, also played there last season when needed.
However, Bristow and fellow youngster Imari Samuels are the only orthodox left-backs at the club currently and although a new signing is likely to come in, the 19-year-old may be thrown in if this new man becomes unavailable through injury or suspension.
The Royals’ financial restrictions will mean they are probably only going to sign one man in this position, especially with the wing position desperately needing to be strengthened and a full-back on the other side potentially needed too, as the club looks to find competition for Andy Yiadom’s spot.
Like Melvin-Lambert, Bristow made appearances in the cup competitions and held his own against a couple of high-quality wingers.