Reading central defender Michael Morrison has admitted he doesn’t know how much transfer business the club can do this summer in an interview with BBC Radio Berkshire, with a reported transfer embargo looming over the Berkshire side’s head.
Morrison, 33, signed a new deal with the club this summer to extend his stay at the Madejski Stadium until 2022 and fellow centre-half Tom McIntyre looks set to join him in putting pen to paper – but the Royals have currently made no signings with players returning to pre-season training yesterday.
On Reading’s transfer dealings and current speculation, Morrison said to BBC Radio Berkshire: “I haven’t heard many rumours of us bringing players in, to be honest – all the rumours I’ve heard is players leaving which is not what you want to hear!”
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“But at this time it’s mainly just speculation, there is not too much business getting done and if you do hear someone’s going somewhere a lot of the time it is just a rumour.”
One of the players linked with a transfer away from the Madejski Stadium is 19-year-old midfielder starlet Michael Olise, who is reportedly attracting interest from Ligue 1 champions Lille and with just one year left on his current deal, is likely to be monitored by other clubs during this window.
Another factor that could disrupt Reading’s preparations ahead of the new season is the uncertainty surrounding an EFL-imposed transfer embargo.
The club’s overspending under former CEO Ron Gourlay between 2017 and 2018 has put the Royals in hot water with the governing body and this has severely limited the amount of transfer business they have been able to conduct in recent seasons. And it looks set to hamper them again.
On this subject, Morrison continued: “Hopefully, we can improve. We follow what’s going on – there are reports of a transfer embargo but that’s not something we know about.
“We’re just waiting to hear clarification from somebody above us to say whether or not we’re doing anything.
“I was reading Kieran Maguire (football finance expert) was saying [there is] £11,500 for a player and that’s still a good wage in the Championship so you can still get some talented players.
“We saw Josh Laurent come to us last summer and he was a revelation so I don’t think that’s something to cause us too many problems if we are under certain restrictions.”
Although Olise’s potential move is not yet at an advanced stage, there have already been departures, with Omar Richards heading to former Champions League winners Bayern Munich on the expiry of his contract and Sam Baldock, Sone Aluko, Sam Baldock and Tennai Watson all leaving the club.
Aluko was signed by the Royals back in 2017 for a £7m fee – a costly transfer that proved to be a disaster for both the player and club with the Nigerian failing to adapt to life at Reading.
There’s no danger of the club spending that sort of fee on players in this window – and probably won’t even be able to spend £7m combined on the players they can recruit over the next few months.
As Michael Morrison pointed out with Josh Laurent, there are smart deals to be done if Reading are on the ball, but they may have missed out on some of their early transfer targets with the embargo situation.
Morrison himself was a magnificent free signing back in 2019 and if they can continue in this vein, the Royals will go into next season ready to take on the Championship, with or without teenage wonderkid Michael Olise.
It seems like the club will have the chance to make a few additions – but their success in the transfer window (and therefore next season) will depend on their recruitment team. No pressure!