Former Reading midfielder Jem Karacan has urged his former side to get centre-back Tom Holmes tied down to a new contract in the coming months, speaking candidly in an interview with the Reading Chronicle.
The 22-year-old has been a regular starter for the Royals this term, being heavily involved again after making his breakthrough during the 2020/21 campaign but mainly operating in his more orthodox position in the centre this season.
He has suffered dips in confidence and has been part of the second-worst defence in the Championship this season as things stand – but has shone in many games and many supporters will be hoping he remains at the Select Car Leasing Stadium for the foreseeable future.
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Unfortunately for those who want him to stay put, his contract runs out at the end of the season and it’s currently unclear whether he will put pen to paper on fresh terms, though he was thought to be keen on extending his stay.
However, the Royals need to abide by a strict budget and business plan after breaching the EFL’s profitability and sustainability rules, meaning the club will only be able to offer him a limited salary.
Despite this, former Royal Karacan believes the second-tier outfit need to treat the centre-back as a summer priority in their quest to retain key players, especially with Nottingham Forest said to have bid for him last summer.
He said: “A massive part of the club is the academy. You can see that with [Tom] McIntyre and [Tom] Holmes, who is probably a future captain. It could be like me and [Alex Pearce] Pearcey vying for being the skipper.
“You’ve got two people there who are set up to lead the club for the next 10 years. You need to get Holmes signed up; he’s had an incredible season.
“He’s had ups and downs but hats off for how he’s dealt with it, he’s been thrown in at the deep end and for him to be playing week in week out, it’s no surprise he’s had people in for him.”
Although Holmes has had some shaky moments and can be beaten for pace at times, he’s a real asset to have on top form and with the likes of Michael Morrison and Scott Dann not getting any younger, having a more youthful alternative is a good thing.
This season should hopefully be a useful lesson for the 22-year-old rather than a sign of things to come – and with the defender having the potential to get even better – officials at the Select Car Leasing Stadium should be looking to tie him down to fresh terms.
And there are three others they should be focusing on as well with Andy Yiadom, Andy Rinomhota and Josh Laurent all set to depart the club unless their contracts are renewed before the start of July.
With the Royals potentially looking to tie the likes of Junior Hoilett and Orjan Nyland down to fresh deals well, there’s certainly plenty for them to be getting on with as the summer window approaches.