News and Views

Ins And Outs

31 July 2020
By Hob Nob Anyone?

In the short break between seasons there has already been plenty of activity for the Royals as they make changes to their squad. However, it is mostly outs rather than ins as the club look to cut costs.

The big in is 25 year old midfielder Josh Laurent who has signed a two year contract with the Royals. Laurent has joined Reading on a free transfer after he failed to extend his contract at League One Shrewsbury Town. Manager Mark Bowen has described Laurent as a "hungry, vibrant, energetic young midfielder who I am sure will make an impact". Shrewsbury had a mixed season and like the Royals finished midtable, with Laurent making 42 appearances across the season in League and cup competitions, scoring 4 goals and picked up 5 yellow cards. He has previously signed for Hartlepool and Wigan, but made just a handful appearances for Wigan and spent the 2017/2018 season on loan at Bury. His Championship experience was coming off the bench for Wigan in March 2017 during a 1-0 win at Birmingham.

Danny Loader had already left the club after refusing a new contract, and may sign for new Premier League club Leeds United. He has been followed by Chris Gunter, Garath McCleary, Jordan Obita, Charlie Adam and Tyler Blackett - five regular first team players that leave a big whole in the squad.

Gunter joined from Nottingham Forest in the summer of 2012 for 2.5 million pounds and made over 300 appearances for the Royals. McCleary also spent 8 years at Reading after joining from Forest and scored 27 goals during some memorable performances. Both Gunter and McCleary were expected to leave this summer after being frozen out of the squad at the start of the season by former manager Jose Gomes. Mark Bowen got them back playing in the first team, but it seemed certain they would be leaving this summer. McCleary is rumoured to be set for Oxford United who narrowly missed out on promotion after League One play-off defeat.

It is disappointing to see Jordan Obita leave after signing professional terms with the Royals over 10 years ago. His Reading debut was in August 2010 - an extra time substitute as a 16 year old in the League Cup. Other than loan spells Obita has spent his entire career at Reading. After spending a lot of time out with a major injury Obita made a promising return to action this season, but leaves the club as his contract expires.

Charlie Adam made 27 appearances for Reading after signing a one year contract last summer. Tyler Blackett spent four seasons at Reading after signing from Manchester United and is set to join FC Cincinnati in America where he would link up with former Reading manager Jaap Stam.

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