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…
Reading manager Jose Gomes may struggle to hold onto one of his youth prospects, amid reports in The Irish Mirror that Manchester United have had Royals teenage goalkeeper Coniah Boyce-Clarke watched recently, while playing for England’s U17’s in the Syrenka Cup Final with Poland.
The 16-year-old may have signed a new deal at Reading, but with United keen on the youngster, it may be a struggle for Jose Gomes to hold onto this hot prospect.
So should Reading try their best to hold onto their young keeper amid this interest from the Red Devils?
“Yes, they need to do all they can to keep the youngster.
“Of course, that’s going to be very hard, as the stopper is going to be very interested in moving to a club the size of Manchester United but Reading must try.
“They need to stress to the player that there is a clear pathway to the first-team at the Madejski Stadium and hope that he takes a long-term view that his development will benefit from staying with the Championship side.
“The fact the keeper signed a new contract recently is a positive for Reading and it shows that Boyce-Clarke is happy right now. However, if United firm up their interest it’s going to be really tough but keeping talented academy players is crucial to every club.”
“They can only try.
“He’s obviously a highly-rated young footballer and when you have a player like that on your books you want to keep him for as long as possible.
“The question will be, though, can Reading actually manage to do so? They’ll be able to show Boyce-Clarke that there’s a clearer path to the first-team than there is at United but, at the same time, it’s Manchester United we’re talking about.
“It’s bound to tempt the player into a move away and we’ll just have to see exactly what happens.”
“They could be facing a losing battle here I think.
“Even though Boyce-Clarke signed a new deal with Reading earlier this year, he’ll surely be tempted by a move to Old Trafford.
“But Reading have a history of providing their academy players with a clear pathway through to the first-team.
“Jose Gomes is keen to use younger players in his squad this season, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see Boyce-Clarke in the first-team setup in the near future if he remained with the Madejski Stadium.
“Man United are a huge club, and they’ll fancy their chances at coming to an agreement with the Royals to sign him.
“Reading will be able to command decent fee for him though as he’s only just signed a new long-term deal with the club.”