This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
John Swift could head out of the Reading exit door this January following their imminent points deduction from the EFL, sources have exclusively told Football League World.
The attacking midfielder has been in scintillating form for the Royals so far at the start of this season, scoring seven times in his first nine league appearances, as well as racking up five assists as well.
It’s led to Premier League interest in the 26-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the current campaign and may have a move to the top flight in his sights.
Quiz: Have Reading FC ever been involved in these 18 scenarios?
Crystal Palace, Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers are all interested in Swift but with so little time remaining on his deal the question is – how much is he worth? The FLW team have had their say…
His current market value is well short of where it should be due to his contract situation.
If you were talking about Swift with a decent deal behind him and Reading sitting comfortably, not worrying about administration, it would be £15m easily.
However, given all the surrounding circumstances at this moment in time, it’s difficult to see Reading getting anything north of £10m.
It isn’t that I don’t think Swift is worth that amount, it’s just unlikely someone is going to pay that given the precarious position the club are in.
You’d be imagine that £5-7m and a few add-ons would get the Royals thinking, with the attractiveness of those add-ons what’s likely to be the sweetener.
At that price, for one of the Championship’s most influential midfielders, he isn’t going to be short of suitors.
As a Reading fan, he’s priceless, but more objectively, £10m-£15m would probably be the sort of fee the Royals would be demanding if he had longer to run on his contract.
But the fact he has less than 12 months on his current deal is a game-changer and this leaves the second-tier side almost powerless at the negotiating table.
So considering his current contract situation and little prospect of him signing a new deal at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, add in Covid too, he’s probably only worth about £5m in the current climate, perhaps bumped up to around £7m by his recent form after recording 11 goal contributions in nine Championship matches so far.
However, it would be hard to see the Royals selling, especially with their points deduction and their current reliability on his creativity.
His consistency over the years would probably stop him from becoming a £20m player at this stage – but it would be interesting to see him test himself in the Premier League and he would only improve with experience in the top flight.
With his current contract, it’s the worst possible situation for Reading to be in but whether they sever their ties and generate profit or take the hit and try to secure a respectable Championship finish remains to be seen.
I suspect the latter will happen, allowing him to walk away for free at the end of the season.
Love the EFL? Want to share your opinions about your club? Get involved by subscribing to FLW TV on Youtube HERE!
He’s worth a lot more than Reading will be getting for him!
Swift’s contract situation has put the Royals in a very tough position and the reality is that they will probably have to settle for around £5m the January window if they don’t want to lose him on a free in the summer.
It’s hard to imagine that he will agree new terms with the Berkshire outfit, so they may have to cash in during the winter window.
Clearly, someone of Swift’s ability should be commanding a fee of at least £15m when you look at what top Championship players have gone for in the past but that’s not going to happen here.
This is a lesson to all clubs in terms of the risk you take in not tying your best players down to longer deals.
Reading will hope for an auction to drive the price up between the interested clubs, and if sides are desperate to strengthen to avoid relegation, they could get a decent offer.
But, it still won’t reflect Swift’s true value and whoever lands the playmaker will be making a shrewd signing.