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 side Reading are reported to have entered negotiations with former first-choice goalkeeper Rafael Cabral over terminating his contract at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, according to Ge Global.
The same outlet have also stated the 31-year-old is ‘close’ to leaving the Berkshire outfit and ‘will be free on the market in January’, indicating that his departure could be confirmed within a matter of weeks as the Royals look to cut costs.
This need to reduce their expenditure is mainly due to the EFL restrictions they face from next season, needing to stay within a certain budget and with that, many of those out of contract at the second-tier side at the end of the campaign are likely to depart.
Quiz: Can you name which club Reading FC sold these 26 players to?
Rafael is one of those players whose deal runs out in the summer, although the Royals are seemingly pushing for an earlier exit with Luke Southwood now establishing himself as their first-choice goalkeeper, the Brazilian failing to do enough to regain his starting spot in recent months and the latter likely to be on a sizeable salary after leaving Serie A side Sampdoria to sign for the club back in 2019.
But is this move to end his stay early a good move from the Championship club? We asked three of our writers at Football League World to deliver their verdicts on this key question.
It feels like this decision has come from a cost-cutting standpoint rather than anything else.
The Royals have spent a ludicrous amount on player wages in recent years and in that Luke Southwood has been a godsend to give them the opportunity to get Rafael Cabral off of the wage bill.
Looking at the long term sustainable future of the club, this has to be a good decision.
Cabral has been an excellent servant for Reading in the last few years and was particularly outstanding in 2019/20 but with Southwood’s performances he has rightly been playing second fiddle this term.
It does not make financial sense to invest so much in a backup goalkeeper, so Cabral leaving in January, however it may be, will be best for both parties.
This does seem as though it could well be a sensible decision by Reading.
Given the situation the club find themselves in at the moment, it does seem as though they are going to have to find methods of reducing costs, in order to avoid any further costly punishment by the EFL.
Terminating player contracts to reduce the wage budget is one way they could do that, and given Rafael looks to have lost his spot as the Royals’ first-choice goalkeeper to Luke Southwood this season, it seems he may be one they can afford to lose through doing this.
Indeed, at 31-years-old, the Brazilian still has plenty of time in his career, and he is unlikely to want to spend that on the sidelines at Reading, so this seems as though it could be a good move for all involved.
I am quite intrigued to see how this one plays out.
I always thought that Rafael Cabral was one of the better goalkeepers in the division, as he is able to play from the back quite comfortably, whilst his shot-stopping abilities are up there with the very best in the division.
However, and quite remarkably, he has been dethroned from his number one spot by Luke Southwood, with the 24-year-old adapting to regular Championship football seamlessly.
It appears that Cabral would play a deputy role if he continues with the Royals, whilst it be no surprise if he is one of the higher earners in the side.
Subsequently, I do understand why the Royals may enter termination talks.