Reading will be hoping they can make a positive start to the 2021/22 league campaign, when they take on Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium.
The Royals will have to make do without one of their key players from last year’s campaign though, with Michael Olise recently completing a move to Premier League side Crystal Palace.
The 19-year-old caught the eye with a. number of strong performances for the Berkshire-based side in that season, and it appears as though that didn’t go unnoticed.
Olise chipped in with seven goals and 12 assists in 46 appearances for Veljko Paunovic’s side, as they narrowly missed out on a top-six finish, which will have been frustrating for the club’s supporters after such a strong start to the season.
Reading finished seventh in the second tier standings, and seven points adrift of sixth-placed AFC Bournemouth in that campaign, and will be keen to make a winning start to the new season against Michael O’Neill’s side.
But without Olise, some of the Madejski Stadium faithful might fear that the Royals will lack a creative spark in attacking areas, which could starve the likes of Lucas Joao and George Puscas of the service they need in front of goal to keep Reading in the mix.
Reading are seemingly eager to fill that void at the earliest of opportunities though, with Berkshire Live reporting that they’re interested in a move for former Crystal Palace and Everton winger Yannick Bolasie.
How much do you know about Reading's celebrity supporters?
Bolasie had been with Everton since 2016, having impressed with Palace over the years earlier in his career, but struggled to replicate that run of form with the Toffees at Goodison Park.
He has shown glimpses of his quality out on loan away from Everton though, having scored six goals in 17 appearances for Belgian side Anderlecht. Bolasie spent last year’s campaign on loan with Championship side Middlesbrough though, and made 15 appearances for Neil Warnock’s men, as they finished tenth in the second tier standings.
The 32-year-old will certainly have a point to prove, and you would imagine that Bolasie will be eager to make an instant impact at whichever club he signs for this summer.
The winger played an important role in the 2012/13 season for Crystal Palace, as they won promotion into the Premier League, and Reading’s supporters will be hoping that Bolasie can have a similar impact with them if he was to sign for the Royals ahead of their season opener against Stoke City.
If he can hit the ground running, then you wouldn’t put it past Bolasie to fill the void left by Olise this summer, which is a sizeable void. If Bolasie can deal with the weight of expectation on his shoulders with Yakou Meite out of action through injury, then this could turn out to be a shrewd bit of business by the Royals.