Reading manager Veljko Paunovic is confident the club will be able to come to an agreement with Andy Carroll regarding a potential contract extension, speaking to Berkshire Live after yesterday’s 2-2 draw against Derby County.
The ex-England international, who arrived at the club in mid-November, was only able to sign a short-term contract with the Royals due to EFL transfer restrictions and he is set to leave the club in the middle of this month as things stand.
This would be a considerable blow for the second-tier side after seeing him become one of the first names on the teamsheet at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, overtaking George Puscas in the pecking order with the Romanian struggling in front of goal this season and Lucas Joao still absent with the injury he sustained back in August.
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Despite only managing to get on the scoresheet once in six appearances for the club, he has been an integral part of their plans and that was reinforced with his assist for Junior Hoilett’s opener yesterday afternoon, with the Royals desperate to get him tied down to a new deal for the remainder of the season.
According to The Athletic, he is earning just £1,000 per week at the Select Car Leasing Stadium as things stand, with the Berkshire outfit currently operating under a very tight budget with major restrictions they need to adhere to next season as well.
However, getting the 32-year-old tied down until the end of this campaign may be their biggest priority at this stage, with his last match for the club potentially coming against Kidderminster Harriers this weekend according to manager Paunovic.
He went on to say: “He is eligible to play next week in the FA Cup and we don’t think it will be his last game.
“We are in talks with his agent and we hope it will be fine.”
No specific teams are reported to be interested in a move for the forward at this stage.
Getting Carroll to stay in the coming months could be a game-changer for a side looking to pull themselves away from the relegation zone, so it’s vitally important that the club persuade him to stay for the remainder of the campaign before reassessing his future.
This has been made especially important by Yakou Meite’s long-term absence, because it may take him a while to get back up to speed when he does return due to the severity of the ACL injury he sustained in the summer.
Not only is he guaranteed to score more goals if he remains at the club, but he also contributes heavily to their cause as a real aerial threat, proving to be crucial from corners and also winning headers in the attacking half to pressurise Championship defences.
In this sense, he’s almost Yann Kermorgant-esque and this type of figure is exactly what the club needs up top if they want to stay afloat in the Championship, something that has to be their main aim now.
However, the second-tier side also needs to mix things up when he’s on the pitch and not always go for the long ball. The Royals’ style of play was direct far too often for some fans’ liking, so whilst they need to utilise his strengths, they must also be mindful of the predictability that brings.