Mark Bowen has criticised Reading’s lack of planning and research into the signing of George Puscas in 2019.
Reading made a big statement of intent in the summer of 2019, fighting off interest from elsewhere to win Puscas’ signature.
Last season, he finished the campaign with 14 goals to his name, scoring 12 times in 38 league appearances.
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But this season, the 24-year-old has failed to replicate that form, scoring three goals in 16 Championship matches.
Speaking to The Second Tier Podcast about the arrival of Puscas, former Reading manager Mark Bowen – who was working behind-the-scenes at the time – says that the club ‘didn’t do enough background and homework’ in the build-up to the signing, amid interest from Birmingham and Cardiff.
He said: “It was put to me that there was this young player at Inter Milan who had done well with Romania’s Under-21s’. Cardiff were very interested in him, as were Birmingham City.
“The associates of the owner said to go and get him. I think in hindsight, they probably didn’t do enough background and homework on the player.
“The scouting department were looking to cut back on things at the time, but the decision was made to go for George Puscas.
“For me, he’s a very raw talent, he’s still young. As a player, he still has a lot to learn and a lot to improve on, in terms of technical ability. I wouldn’t call him a natural finisher, but he’s a hungry finisher.
“At times, his decision-making isn’t fantastic because he just wants to try and score goals. Maybe his link-up play and technical build-up play has got to be improved upon.”
Reading still occupy a play-off place under Bowen’s successor, Veljko Paunovic, with the Royals sitting three points clear of AFC Bournemouth in sixth.
Puscas was a big-money signing which naturally caused plenty of excitement amongst Reading fans that summer.
He had an excellent first season in the Championship and scored a decent amount of goals for a mid-table team, but he has failed to kick on despite Reading improving this season.
He is obviously a player for the long-term as well as the short-term, though, so there is every hope that he can still come good and get back amongst the goals in a Reading shirt.