Premier League side Leeds United are lining up a move for Reading midfielder John Swift ahead of the January transfer window, according to Football Insider.
The 26-year-old has been the subject of widespread interest from top-flight clubs in recent months after re-establishing himself as one of the best midfielders in the Championship, recording eight goals and nine assists in 21 league appearances this term and missing just one of the Royals’ second-tier games.
Playing most frequently in an advanced midfield position, he has been integral to the Berkshire outfit’s joy going forward, perhaps reinforced by Veljko Paunovic’s side’s poor attacking performance against West Bromwich Albion in their last outing when he was unavailable.
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His absence was due to a hamstring injury, though Paunovic admitted he would have been in contention to face Luton Town in the following game earlier this month if the clash against the Hatters had gone ahead.
With the midfielder having the chance to recover fully with games against Peterborough United and Fulham also being postponed, he could be set for a January move next month, though Marcelo Bielsa’s side are yet to devote any ‘serious energy’ to the pursuit of the Englishman according to Leeds Live.
The Argentine is a known admirer of the 26-year-old though – and ahead of this potential move – we weigh up the options Swift may face with the winter window approaching.
A move to Leeds
For Swift, a move to the Premier League would be the dream after coming so close to reaching the top tier at the end of his first season in Berkshire, playing a big part in guiding the Royals’ to the 2017 play-off final against Huddersfield Town but just falling short on penalties.
He’s also likely to get first-team opportunities at Elland Road with Bielsa’s men missing out on Lewis O’Brien in the summer, with the Terriers’ midfielder putting pen to paper on a new contract at the John Smith’s Stadium shortly after the closure of the transfer window.
Potentially able to recruit the Reading man for much cheaper, it would be hard to see the Whites bring in both during January, so there’s definitely a pathway there for the ex-Chelsea man to play often in the top flight with 17 goal contributions in 21 league appearances under his belt.
Despite missing the Berkshire side’s last game with an injury, this setback seemed to be a reasonably short-term one for the midfielder and with the small chance of him picking up a long-term injury, especially with the Royals’ lack of squad depth and the need to start him regularly because of that with a congested fixture list, next month may be the ideal time for him to move.
Remaining at the Select Car Leasing Stadium
There are no guarantees he will move on next month.
From his current club’s point of view, they are unlikely to be able to invest a lot of the money generated from his potential sale back into the playing squad due to the restrictions they face as part of the business plan they agreed with the EFL last month.
Because of this and the fact they are currently fighting relegation, the second-tier side may benefit more from keeping hold of one of their most valuable assets to ensure they can retain their Championship status.
The financial implications of relegation could be much worse than losing Swift for nothing, so it may be best at this stage if the midfielder continues to keep his head down, because that will give him the best possible chance of sustaining his current form. He has been quiet in recent games, but has been superb overall during 2021/22.
He also wants to stay at the Select Car Leasing Stadium until the end of the season according to the Reading Chronicle, so changing his mind now would only go on to affect his mindset off the pitch and performances on it further.
And with multiple Premier League sides thought to be interested in pursuing his signature in recent months, Swift will have plenty of offers to look at, allowing him to pick between multiple clubs and potentially enabling him to negotiate a more favourable wage package.