Reading midfielder John Swift will have a big decision to make over the next 12 months.
His contract at the Select Car Leasing Stadium expires next summer and after spending five years in Berkshire, his time there could potentially come to an end at the conclusion of the campaign.
Registering eight goals and six assists in 16 second-tier games so far this season and being one of the Royals’ key men during his time at the club, it will come as no surprise to Reading supporters that he has been the subject of widespread Premier League interest in recent months.
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Football League World understands Burnley, Crystal Palace, Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers are all currently monitoring his situation at the Championship side ahead of a potential move, with a cut-price deal in January potentially on the horizon.
But in the midst of an injury crisis, it’s hard to see the Royals cashing in unless this situation vastly improves, because their squad depth is non-existent at the moment in time for a side that have been forced to put some of their youth players on the bench.
As well as that, the Berkshire outfit currently face the prospect of receiving a nine-point deduction for breaking the EFL’s profit and sustainability rules, and they will probably be relying on a man of Swift’s calibre to drag themselves away from the relegation.
This makes a January stay likely despite the financial pain of seeing him leave for free at the end of the 2021/22 campaign – because at this stage – it’s unlikely he will put pen to paper on a contract extension.
At 26, he will be desperate to make the step up to the Premier League in the next couple of years and with his deal expiring next year, he will probably see this as the perfect opportunity to secure his move away from the Championship.
On a free transfer, with no training or development costs to be paid to Reading, he’s likely to have many offers from the top flight and he would be daft not to take the step up.
His consistency over the years can be questioned, but his quality can’t and if a Premier League side can keep him fit, they have a gem on their hands.
You also wouldn’t rule out a move abroad in his quest for top-tier football and after performing so well with the Royals, you can’t say he doesn’t deserve it.