Championship outfit Reading have not managed to make meaningful progress in contract talks with midfielder Josh Laurent, as per a Twitter update from former Reading Chronicle journalist Matt Joy.
The 26-year-old was one of the Royals’ best players last term after making the step up from League One seamlessly, forming a formidable partnership with Andy Rinomhota in the middle of the park and proving to be one of the bargains of the summer of 2020.
He has endured poor spells of form this term – but has still popped up with vital goals recently with a winner against Blackburn Rovers and equaliser at relegation strugglers Barnsley going a long way in securing the Berkshire outfit’s survival.
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These key moments will only increase interest in his signature, with Brighton & Hove Albion and Rangers’ interest in his services being reported last May after a superb first campaign at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.
However, it was second-tier rivals Nottingham Forest who went further and made a seven-figure bid for him last summer, an offer that was rejected with the Royals’ already lacking in first-team options at that point.
But Steve Cooper’s men may be able to snap him up for free this summer with his existing terms in Berkshire expiring at the end of this campaign after signing a two-year contract back in 2020.
And as per former reporter Joy, no progress has been made in talks between Laurent and his current side with the club looking set to remain within a tight budget over the next 12 months in accordance with a business plan they agreed with the EFL last November.
Recruiting Laurent was one of the Royals’ best decisions in recent years, so it would be a blow for them to lose him for free even though they didn’t pay a penny for him when they brought him two years ago.
He may have endured poor periods of form this season – but it would have been unnatural for him not to have done considering how poor his side have been for large spells of the 2021/22 campaign – so he can be forgiven for this.
When the midfielder is at his best, he can be a formidable figure in the middle of the park, able to play higher up as well as in a deeper role and this versatility will only go on to make him a more attractive option for other clubs.
Getting him tied down would be huge for the Berkshire outfit’s morale – but they also need to tie several other key players down within a limited budget including the likes of Andy Yiadom, Tom Holmes and Andy Rinomhota.
This is why it’s certainly possible that the 26-year-old could depart the Select Car Leasing Stadium in the coming months and at this stage with his current side’s financial situation, it may even be a surprise to see him stay put.