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Paul Ince makes bleak Reading FC contract admission on key players ahead of possible summer exodus

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Reading manager Paul Ince has admitted he doesn’t know whether any of the eight players who started yesterday’s game against West Brom will be at the club beyond the summer with their respective deals expiring at the end of this term, speaking to Berkshire Live.

Despite having little to play for, Ince fielded a reasonably strong side against Steve Bruce’s men, with Orjan Nyland, Michael Morrison, Baba Rahman, Danny Drinkwater, Ovie Ejaria and Lucas Joao all appearing for the Royals.

Out of yesterday’s starting lineup, the latter two and centre-back Tom McIntyre are the only players who are contracted to the Berkshire outfit beyond the end of this term, with Drinkwater, Rahman and Tom Dele-Bashiru set to return to their parent clubs and the rest are out of contract.

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Nicky Forster?

Even their two most important players in John Swift and Andy Yiadom, both of whom were ruled out of this weekend’s tie with their respective injuries, are set to leave the Select Car Leasing Stadium for free in the summer with the club facing a mass exodus.

This means they face the possibility of needing to rebuild their squad within the business plan agreed with the EFL last November as part of their sanctions for breaching profitability and sustainability rules.

As part of this plan, they will need to stay within certain wage limits with any fee spent on a playing needing to be ratified by the governing body, not an ideal scenario for a club that will need to move quickly to secure their targets this summer.

This rebuild may be bigger than many thought, with Ince admitting that he doesn’t have any assurances that a single one of those eight starters put pen to paper on fresh terms in Berkshire.

He said: “It’s hard to see if any of the eight will be here next season. Players need to know what they’re doing.

“The club needs to know who is going to be the manager, the fans need to know who is going to be the manager – I can’t make decisions on players if I’m not going to be here myself.

“I need to ascertain if I’m going to be here first before saying we need to build a project over three or four years.

“It has to be that way, whoever is in charge. Next season will be tough but if there is a siege mentality, then we will be fine.”

The Verdict:

For Reading supporters, this is nothing new because large sections of the fanbase saw this cliff edge coming from a mile away with many of their prized assets now worth very little with their contract situation.

Unfortunately, the Royals either haven’t cashed in at the right time on some of these players or they haven’t moved to again to tie them down to fresh terms. In fairness, their arrivals last summer could only sign one-year deals but others should have been tied down to new contracts before these restrictions came in.

Mismanagement over the past four or five years has damaged the club and they are now feeling the full effects of this with a tough summer period ahead, especially with no Director of Football or a permanent head coach being appointed yet.

Unfortunately for them, it will be unrealistic to tie a player down like Swift who will probably depart to a Premier League club in the coming months and there are serious doubts over the likes of Yiadom and Josh Laurent as well, both of whom won’t be short of interest from other clubs.

It’s not up to the Royals to decide who they need to prioritise in contract negotiations and line up players who could adequately replace those who could go – because their future looks set to be bleak unless there’s a plan in place.


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: Paul Ince makes bleak Reading FC contract admission on key players ahead of possible summer exodus

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