Having limped home to a disappointing 20th place finish in the Championship last month, Reading will be undoubtedly be looking to improve next season.
Yet whereas boss Jose Manuel Gomes’ primary focus will be on improving his squad during the transfer window, he may have to deal with the departure of one of the Royals’ most impressive players.
According to Reading Chronicle journalist Courtney Friday, Celtic are reportedly keen on signing Liam Moore with Neil Lennon keen to bolster his defensive options following the departure of Dedrick Boyata in May.
Hearing Celtic are keen on signing #readingfc defender Liam Moore this summer. And so it begins again….
— Courtney Friday (@ChronCourtney) June 9, 2019
If this is indeed true, it is crucial that Gomes lines up an adequate replacement for the 26-year-old as a failure to do result in the Royals facing an uphill struggle to survive during the 2019/20 campaign.
Keeping this in mind, here are three players who we think Reading should target if Moore does decide to move on to pastures new…
One of the standout performers in the third tier last season, Matthew Clarke took his game to new heights as he helped Portsmouth secure a fourth-place finish.
Although the defender was ultimately powerless to prevent his side from missing out on promotion via the play-offs last month, it is glaringly obvious that he is more than ready to make the step-up in level to the Championship.
Therefore, if Reading receive a sizeable fee for Moore, they simply have to consider going for Clarke as he has all the ingredients needed to become a fantastic player in the future.
Whereas Clarke has only played a handful of games in the Championship during his career, Yoann Barbet is no stranger to this particular level of football.
With over 100 second-tier appearances to his name during a highly successful four-season stint at Brentford, the 26-year-old could prove to be somewhat of a coup for Reading as he is available on a free this summer having been released by Thomas Frank.
Although Moore would leave a big void at the back for the Royals if he were to go to Celtic, Barbet could prove to be a cracking replacement if he is able to produce the kind of form which saw him help the Bees secure a ninth-place finish in 2018.
A fantastic central defender, Ethan Pinnock played a massive role in helping Barnsley secure promotion last season as he was part of a back-line which conceded just 39 goals in 46 games in the third tier.
Whereas swooping him would be somewhat of a risk for the Royals considering the fact that he has never played at Championship level before, it may be worth it given his wide array of talents.
Not only is Pinnock a superb reader of the game but his composure whilst on the ball could allow him to dominate next season for Gomes’ side.