Championship side Reading could be in for an unpleasant transfer window next month, with next season’s financial restrictions coming into play and many key players’ contracts coming to an end at the end of the 2021/22 campaign.
The second-tier side have agreed a business plan with the EFL as part of their sanctions for breaching financial rules, designed to minimise their expenditure on transfers and wages as the Royals look to build towards a more sustainable future.
However, they could be presented with a real problem in the summer with some of their key players’ deals running out in the summer and little prospect of many being able to remain at the club without taking a considerable wage cut.
Quiz: Did Reading FC do these 22 things in 2021?
This may leave the Berkshire outfit with a rebuilding job to do during the summer transfer window, making the winter period a difficult one to contend with as they weigh up whether to cash in on some of their most valuable assets to avoid losing them for free.
With a relegation battle to fight though, they may decide to retain many of their key men in a bid to retain their second-tier status before reassessing the direction of the club in the summer.
Potential ins and outs could be on the horizon at the Select Car Leasing Stadium though, and ahead of the new calendar year, we take a look at some of the club’s biggest current transfer talking points.
Swift to Leeds?
The Reading player that has been the subject of most interest from clubs in recent months is attacking midfielder John Swift, who has re-established himself as a key player in Berkshire this term after spending much of last season injured.
Recording eight goals and nine assists in 21 Championship appearances this term, the only game he was unavailable for this season was the Royals’ trip to West Bromwich Albion earlier this month, though the club’s break from football with their Covid-19 outbreak may have given him a sufficient amount of time to recover from his hamstring injury ahead of a potential move next month.
Leeds United were reported to be lining up a move for the 26-year-old with his contract expiring at the end of the season, although ‘no serious energy’ has been devoted to pursuing his signature at Elland Road yet according to Leeds Live.
As per the Reading Chronicle, Swift wishes to remain at the Select Car Leasing Stadium until the summer and with Royals probably unable to reinvest a huge amount of that potential sale revenue back into the squad, also arguably needing him to help in their fight against relegation, a move away in January seems unlikely at this stage.
A possible January exit for Puscas?
A report from Romanian outlet Fanatik has stated forward George Puscas is currently on Serie A side Cagliari’s shortlist, with the Italian side thought to be lining up a loan-to-buy offer in a bid to lure him away from England.
The Royals’ number 47 has endured a torrid run of form this term, failing to score in any of his 21 league appearances so far this season, being given a real opportunity to shine with Lucas Joao and Yakou Meite both absent with injuries but failing to take his chance.
Arriving for a club-record fee back in 2019, he is likely to be on a hefty wage and this is why the second-tier side may actively look to move him on imminently if they can secure Andy Carroll’s future and/or recruit another forward to replace him.
If the Berkshire side are able to offload him permanently, it would be hard to see them not taking that opportunity even though they are unlikely to recoup the millions they spent on him two-and-a-half years ago.
Will Carroll remain with the Royals?
With Veljko Paunovic’s men unable to tie ex-England international Carroll down to a new contract at this stage, with his existing deal set to expire in the middle of next month, it’s currently unclear where his future lies.
Fellow Reading forward Joao is expected to return from his injury in the new year, but with Puscas failing to fire on all cylinders and linked with a move away, they will need to recruit another forward if possible if Carroll was to depart the club.
The Athletic believe he’s currently earning just £1,000 per week – and with the EFL still keeping tabs on the club following their breach of Profitability and Sustainability rules – it wouldn’t be a surprise if the stumbling block on this extension is money-based.
He has been a real asset for the Paunovic’s side since his arrival, becoming a real physical presence up top and bringing others into play. The Royals’ manager will be hoping to get a deal tied up for him as soon as possible with time ticking on his existing terms.