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Mark Bowen outlines the immediate challenge facing Reading in the summer transfer window

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Reading manager Mark Bowen has stressed the need to reduce the size of his squad in the summer.

Bowen has a staggering 46 players in his senior team. He admittedly has far too many to pick from and has told Berkshire Live that reducing that number will be his main goal in the summer, but insisted that he doesn’t have a ‘transfer plan’ as such:

“I’d like to think I have a plan, but we have so many players out of contract and players going back after loans and we don’t know what will happen with them.”

All of Matt Miazga, Chris Gunter, Tyler Blackett, Charlie Adam, Gareth McCleary and Danny Loader are set to leave the club when their contracts expire in the summer.

“You look at Matt Miazga’s situation for example – he did well and then went back to Chelsea and it was only late on in the window last summer did we know he could come back again and he certainly had other options,” added Bowen.

“You do think about it and make mental notes but even at this stage it’s hard to put things into place. Players are out of contract and are on good contracts and even if you would like to keep them, you need to think if they wold like to accept the offer this time around.

“There are a lot of little conundrums within it. I’d like to think in my mind and my staff’s mind we’re planning on which way we’re going to go this year.”

With football postponed up until April 30th now, it’ll put a lot of clubs’ summer preparations on hold, with finishing the season being the immediate goal.

To add to the mix, Reading have a host of loan signings who are set to depart too – Pele being the standout name, but the 28-year-old has stated his desire to make his stay permanent.

Bowen though will need to be cautious – he can’t afford to add more weight to his squad:

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“But for example we trained with 24 outfield players recently, and that’s too many,” the Welshman explained. “Even if you want to do an 11 v 11 game you’ve got two senior players stood on the sidelines so it can’t be right – that’s got to be looked at in terms of the health of the squad.”

Reading have certainly become more competitive under Bowen. He’s galvanised a side who were facing relegation to League One, and has since put them in mid-table contention.

A full pre-season with his new side is well in need, and expect there to be a lot of activity come the time of the transfer window opening.

The verdict

To have 46 players in your senior team is madness. That’s far too many and Bowen will be quick to offload the deadwood, and take some strain of the club’s wage bill.

Whether or not he’ll have money to spend is unknown, but the club spent healthily in the last summer transfer window, and the board could well back Bowen this time round.


Freelance football journalist based in Sheffield. Postgraduate degree in Sports Journalism, and good experience in digital football writing and match reporting.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Mark Bowen outlines the immediate challenge facing Reading in the summer transfer window

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