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…
Reading FC are still in the hunt for promotion in the Sky Bet Championship.
Veljko Paunović has had a really solid impact on the Royals, who sit sixth in the table heading into this weekend’s fixtures.
Key to their promotion push – despite a horror miss last weekend against Barnsley – has been Lucas Joao.
He’s scored 19 goals and registered seven assists in the Championship this season, with the 27-year-old proving to be one of the division’s leading strikers.
So, what does the future hold for him if Reading aren’t promoted? Is he going to still be at the Madejski Stadium for 2021/22?
Our writers discuss…
I think that Joao will still be a Reading player next year if they’re still in the Championship, as I just can’t see a Premier League team taking a punt on him.
That’s not to say a team from abroad won’t make a bid though, but I think what Joao will be valued at by the club and what others would offer are on different levels.
Joao has definitely had a good overall season for Reading and he’s hitting his peak at the age of 27, but there are still inconsistencies to his game that make me think he wouldn’t cut it in the top flight.
He drifts out of games far too much for my liking and he’s a very streaky player – which is good when you’re on a hot streak like he has been at times this season – however, I just think despite all his goals there will not be anyone willing to pay the eight-figure fee the Royals would probably demand for their top scorer.
I think so.
I certainly think there’s more chance of him being a Reading player next season than anywhere else regardless of what division they are in in 2021/22, put it that way.
He is a good player and has shown real flashes of quality and brilliance this season and I’m sure clubs will have taken notice of that but they’ll also have seen the inconsistencies he still has in his game and clubs may well sit on their hands rather than move for him this summer.
He is a good player, but I see him remaining at Reading for now.
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I expect him to attract interest.
Joao has had a phenomenal season for the Royals this season, scoring 19 goals this season in the Championship putting Paunovic’s side in contention for promotion.
Granted, his form of late has gone off the boil somewhat but I fully expect there to be plenty of admiring glances from teams higher up the footballing pyramid this summer.
When on song, there aren’t many better strikers at this level and he’s showcased just how clinical he can be in front of goal, so you’d be surprised if there weren’t PL sides keeping tabs on his progress.
Joao does still have two years left on his current deal at the Madejski Stadium so the Royals will not be departing with one of their most prized assets for a cheap fee, you’d imagine it’d require a fee of £15m+ upwards to prize him away from Berkshire.
My gut feeling is he’ll still be a Royal next season, as I just can’t see too many sides coughing up the sort of money this summer, that Reading will probably demand.