After a slow start to their summer due to an EFL-imposed transfer embargo, Championship side Reading have finally managed to recruit four players for what looks set to be a tough league campaign for the Royals.
Tom Dele-Bashiru, Baba Rahman (both loans), Junior Hoilett and Alen Halilovic have all arrived at the Select Car Leasing Stadium in the last couple of weeks – and it’s clear the quartet and any further signings will need to settle in quickly during the international break.
A 4-0 away defeat to Huddersfield Town on Saturday afternoon was one of the Royals’ lowest points in their recent history, winning just three points out of a possible 15 in their opening five league fixtures of the season.
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This is a far cry from their unbeaten run at the start of the 2020/21 campaign, winning seven and drawing one of their first eight games.
Most Reading fans were not expecting a repeat of last season’s exceptional record – but they were expecting a lot better than what the Berkshire side have offered up so far – and will need to see a vast improvement on recent performances if they want to avoid a relegation scrap this season.
A few more additions could help them to stay afloat in the Championship over the next nine months – but a few departures could also be on the horizon if manager Veljko Paunovic’s quotes from yesterday are anything to go by.
With this in mind, we are taking a look at two transfer scenarios you should be looking out for at Reading over the next 48 hours.
Drinkwater set to become a Royal?
When Reading FC journalist Courtney Friday reported the Championship side were locked in talks with an unnamed Chelsea midfielder, many people were thinking Lewis Baker would be returning to the club after arriving in Berkshire on loan back in January 2019.
However, it has now been revealed by the Reading Chronicle that Danny Drinkwater is the man the Royals are pursuing, with the 31-year-old unlikely to receive much game time at Stamford Bridge over the next 12 months.
Since arriving from Leicester City in 2017 in a £35m deal, the midfielder has been loaned out to Burnley, Aston Villa and most recently to Turkish top-flight side Kasımpaşa SK.
However, the former Premier League title-winner has rarely played in recent years despite playing a huge role for Leicester City in their meteoric rise between 2012 and 2017.
A loan back to the Championship where he first made his breakthrough, after graduating from Manchester United’s academy, could be the place where Drinkwater can reignite his playing career heading into the final few years of his playing career.
At this stage, he is unlikely to get back into the first team at Chelsea, but he could potentially be competing with the likes of Andy Rinomhota, Josh Laurent and Tom Dele-Bashiru for a spot in midfield to put himself in the shop window at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.
Josh Laurent on his way?
Considering the Royals have the quartet above as options in central midfield and 18-year-old Dejan Tetek stepping up to the first-team in the last 12 months, Drinkwater’s arrival could potentially signal a departure in central midfield.
Although both Andy Rinomhota and Josh Laurent’s contracts both run out next summer, it’s the latter who has been attracting the most interest after an impressive first season in Berkshire.
The 26-year-old arrived from third-tier outfit Shrewsbury Town last July and managed to fit seamlessly into Championship football, forming a great relationship with Rinomhota at the heart of midfield and becoming the midfielder Reading have been desperate for, for several years.
However, his stay could be cut short with Nottingham Forest reportedly submitting at least one bid for his services this summer (13:35, August 2nd) and three clubs in total said to be interested in a move for the midfielder.
It was also reported by The Sun back in May that Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion and Scottish Premiership champions Rangers were considering a move for him, although the £8m price tag may have deterred either side from making a move.
But with Laurent’s contract expiring next summer, the Royals could potentially be willing to cash in on him whilst they can, with the Englishman able to negotiate a contract with other clubs in just a matter of months.