This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Championship outfit Nottingham Forest have submitted a £1.5m bid for Reading academy graduate Tom Holmes, as reported by Football Insider.
The 21-year-old hasn’t started either of the Royals’ opening Championship games despite Veljko Paunovic utilising three centre-backs in both, with captain Liam Moore, Michael Morrison and Tom McIntyre consigning him to a place on the bench.
However, he proved to be a valuable asset amid an injury crisis in Berkshire last term, making 39 appearances and filling in at right-back as well as his more natural position in the centre.
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With this, the Royals have opened contract talks with the central defender as per Berkshire Live – but are yet to come to an agreement with his contract expiring in less than 12 months.
As a boyhood Reading fan, he is expected to sign a new deal within that time period to extend his stay at the Select Car Leasing Stadium and a potential starting place regardless of injuries and suspensions could be on the horizon soon, with the usually ever-present Michael Morrison turning 34 next month.
With this latest development on Holmes though, we asked three of our Football League World writers two key questions from a Reading perspective. Should they accept this £1.5m bid from a Championship rival? And how much do they believe the 21-year-old is currently worth?
Let’s see what they have had to say on these talking points.
At this moment in time, you feel that Reading should be holding off accepting this bid for the time being.
The Royals do seem to find themselves in something of a tricky situation here, given Holmes is now into the final year of his contract, and they are not going to want to lose him for free at the end of this season.
However, it has been suggested this summer that Reading are in talks over a new contract for Holmes, so it does seem that given the quality he possesses, and the fact that at 21-years-old, he has plenty of time remaining in his career to be an asset for the club, it would make sense to give themselves as much time as possible to try and agree a new deal here.
Indeed, with those factors taken into consideration, it does seem as though Holmes is probably worth more than £1.5million anyway, particularly when Reading would be selling him to a rival in the form of Forest.
With all that in mind, it could be argued that Reading could potentially demand double that reported offer from Forest at least.
Tom Holmes would be an excellent signing for Nottingham Forest, and if they do manage to land his signature with a £1.5 million bid, then that will be an excellent bit of business.
Holmes is a promising young defender, who has shown maturity beyond his years, and excellent technical ability in the games he has played for The Royals thus far. He has the potential to thrive at the top end of the Championship and most likely beyond, which will match the ambitions at the Midlands club.
However, he only has a single year left on his contract, potentially knocking a few million off his price.
As well as the talent and potential Holmes possesses, he is also a versatile option for Chris Hughton, should he sign at the club. The 21-year-old played 21 times at right-back last season, adding a further 16 from central defence.
This could be a deal similar to Ben Wilmot’s move to Stoke, where the fee does not justify the talent that the individual has. Holmes has proved to be excellent at second-tier level, and with Reading’s financial situation, they might be forced to sell.
Reading are in a very challenging situation this summer with them placed under the constraints of a transfer embargo that is limiting the amount of money they are able to spend on incomings.
Therefore losing a player from their squad as important as Tom Holmes is would be a huge blow because the Royals would not be able to go out and sign a replacement with the money.
The 21-year-old is undoubtedly a real talent and he seems to be the next reading prospect after Michael Olise and Omar Richards to be one that could make a move away from the Royals in the near future.
However, you can not see them sanctioning a move away to a Championship rival such as Nottingham Forest for a fee of £1.5 million.
Holmes’ value to the current squad has to be worth more than that £1.5 million that is being offered for him and therefore Forest might have to come back in with a higher offer to try and tempt the Royals into cashing in on the 21-year-old.
In the current market, Holmes could well be worth near double that £1.5 million at least. That would not be too much to pay for someone with the amount of potential that the defender has and the level of resale value he could hold if he went on to impress at the City Ground.