Swindon Town have re-opened talks with centre-back Akin Odimayo according to manager Ben Garner, with the 21-year-old previously leaving the club at the end of his contract this summer amid interest from other clubs.
Odimayo, an academy graduate at Reading, rarely had the chance to impress at the Select Car Leasing Stadium before being released last summer and decided to sign a one-year deal with then-League One club Swindon Town.
But despite the young defender receiving plaudits for his performances last term, he was unable to save the Robins from relegation to the fourth tier and couldn’t agree terms on a fresh deal at the County Ground before his departure at the start of this month.
Quiz: What was the score the last time Swindon Town played each of these 25 teams?
According to TEAMtalk back in April, Derby County, Stoke City, Preston North End and Sheffield Wednesday were all vying for his signature after putting in some impressive performances in the third tier but none of that interest seemed to materialise and he joined Portsmouth on a trial earlier this month.
However, he failed to earn a contract at Fratton Park and finds himself in limbo with just a couple of weeks to go until the EFL season kicks off.
According to Swindon boss Ben Garner, the Robins and Odimayo have recently engaged in further talks and the head coach expressed his desire to keep the defender in Wiltshire in an interview with the Swindon Advertiser.
He said: “I’ve had a conversation with Akin where I’ve explained where I see him in a football sense.
“He had a good chat about things he wanted to talk about, and it’s now a case of whether he wants to stay or not. We’d love to have him back, but it’s a decision that he has to make.
“I absolutely see him as a first-team player for us. He did well in League One last season.
“I think he’s got really good potential – we think he’s very coachable. Scott Marshall worked with him at Reading and knows him well.
“We see him as a first-team player that can not only play for us but do well.”
This signing would be a major boost for Swindon Town as they try to recover from a turbulent summer and make a fast start in League Two, in an attempt to get back to the third tier.
The signing of Odimayo will only help in that quest.
Reading have one of the better academies in England and although the 21-year-old was released in 2020, he was just unlucky to be in competition with fellow academy graduates Tom Holmes and Tom McIntyre, who have both gone on to show they can be solid Championship options already.
If he does make the drop down to the fourth tier, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him jump up a league or two in time for the 2022/23 campaign.
It seems to be a theme with the likes of Jack Stacey, Tariqe Fosu and Rob Dickie at Reading – and because of this – Swindon will want to get him tied down to a longer-term deal.
If they can get him tied down, it would be a major achievement.