Former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Carlton Palmer believes Championship side Reading will cash in on John Swift during the January transfer window if they receive a suitable offer for him, speaking in an interview with Give Me Sport.
The 26-year-old has been in fine fettle for the Royals this term, recording eight goals and nine assists in 21 league appearances and establishing himself as a crucial cog in Veljko Paunovic’s side’s machine once again after spending much of last season out injured.
This has generated widespread interest from many teams in the Premier League, with Burnley, Crystal Palace, Norwich City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Aston Villa, Brentford and Newcastle United all understood to be in the race for the advanced midfield.
Quiz: Can you name which club Reading FC sold these 26 players to?
As per Football Insider, fellow top-tier outfit Leeds United are thought to be lining up an offer for his services ahead of next month’s window, with the Whites’ manager Marcelo Bielsa known to be a big admirer of the ex-Chelsea man.
His contract at the Select Car Leasing Stadium comes to an end at the conclusion of this campaign after spending five years in Berkshire, and after reportedly rejecting fresh terms, it’s looking more and more unlikely he won’t be a Reading player next season.
With this, ex-England international Palmer thinks the second-tier side might be willing to cash in on one of their most valuable assets now to avoid the financial pain of losing him for nothing in the summer.
He said to Give Me Sport: “At the end of the day, he’s not signed a new contract. He’s attracting a lot of interest from several Premier League clubs.
“He is out of contract at the end of the season, I would think if Reading could get a fee for him, and they’re not particularly doing well in the Championship, what, are they 16th in the league?
“So, I think they’re not going to hold onto him until the end of the season if they could get a fee for him in January.
“If that fee comes from Leeds United, then he’ll go to Leeds United. That is for sure.”
There would be a case for cashing in on Swift from the Royals’ perspective if they were in a more comfortable position, but with the club in 21st and just two points above the relegation zone, it could be extremely costly if they were to cash in on him now.
With the financial restrictions the Berkshire side face next season as well, it’s not as if they would be able to invest a huge amount of this money back into the playing squad, so keeping him until the end of the campaign seems to make the most sense at this stage.
The second-tier side would rather be rebuilding in the Championship than in League One, a task they look likely to face with many key players out of contract at the end of the season, and Swift is the type of player who can be the difference.
Standing out as one of the best midfielders in the second tier on his day, it’s no surprise to see him attract top-flight interest and it would be no shock if he moved on to Leeds, but the West Yorkshire outfit may have to wait until the end of the season to get him.
Waiting until the end of the season may also be more beneficial for the midfielder who is likely to have many offers on the table at the end of 2021/22 if he remains patient.