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Opinion: Reading FC simply need to make this position a summer priority



One area of the pitch Reading were desperately lacking in last season was in the wing position.

For much of the season, Michael Olise, Ovie Ejaria and Yakou Meite operated out wide – but with the former two arguably stronger more centrally and Meite playing as a striker for a chunk of his Reading career, the Royals desperately need other options in this position to give them another dimension going forward.

The departures of former Fulham wide man Sone Aluko and young winger Thierry Nevers this summer hasn’t helped the situation – but with a tight budget and other areas to strengthen including the left back spot – Reading manager Veljko Paunovic will need to be creative with the funds he has and could potentially utilise the free agent and loan markets this summer.

Out-of-contract 28-year-old Kadeem Harris is one name being mentioned as a potential signing after being relegated to League with Sheffield Wednesday, while Manchester United starlet Anthony Elanga could be made available by Ole Gunnar-Solskjaer on a loan deal to get the 19-year-old more playing time.

Whether the Royals enter the loan market or look to secure a permanent deal is neither here nor there when this is such a short-term necessity. But let’s not forget, this is a club whose wingers were so important during their two Championship promotion campaigns.

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Glen Little, American Bobby Convey and former Wolverhampton Wanderers player Stephen Hunt all contributed heavily to the Royals’ record-breaking 2005/06 campaign, with lightning-fast Jimmy Kebe, Jobi McAnuff, former Wales international Hal Robson-Kanu and current West Ham forward Michail Antonio (then playing as a winger) all appearing as great options in the 2011/12 campaign.

Garath McCleary, who joined the club on a free transfer from Nottingham Forest in 2012, was tipped to be a good replacement for Kebe and showed a lot of promise in his first two seasons at the club, but slowly declined and was released by the Berkshire side last summer.

In the present day, the Royals have no options like Jimmy Kebe and Glen Little to utilise, and their attacking game was sorely missing that at times last season when they needed a different option in the final third.

Los Angeles wide man Diego Rossi was heavily linked with the Royals on deadline day in the winter window but is reportedly now attracting interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Everton, minimising the Championship side’s chances of even signing him on a loan deal in the next few months.

His loan signing in February could have been the difference between a spot in the playoffs and seventh last season – and a signing or two in the wing position this summer could have a similar impact as the Berkshire look to build on the progress they made in the 2019/20 campaign.

Two wingers would be ideal, but one is absolutely essential.

A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Reading FC simply need to make this position a summer priority

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