News and Views
What Reading fans can expect this season
24 July 2019
By Hob Nob Anyone?
Following last year's narrow, three-point survival, Reading are in a difficult situation as they look to distance themselves from a relegation battle in the Championship next season.
The Royals were handed a transfer embargo by the EFL for breaking Profit and Sustainability rules. Consequently, the club will have to offload a great deal of players to balance the books, which could affect their ambition to attain a higher league position for the forthcoming campaign.
Reading have faced relegation battles in the past two seasons, and the embargo makes it difficult to move away from that predicament, but there are positives to take from the limitations put in place.
There are players at the club who are on hefty wages but are merely fringe players and outside options. Whether the Royals had an embargo placed on them or not, selling players would have been the plan, regardless. However, the emphasis must now shift towards selling fringe players as opposed to key, valuable assets, for example; David Meyler. He is someone who finds first-team football something of a rarity at Madejski Stadium and this could be an opportunity to part ways with the club, suiting both parties.
It will be a stern test for Reading manager Jose Gomes - the Championship is an extremely competitive league, and the Royals are currently third favourites to be relegated at 11/4 after the newly-promoted Charlton and Barnsley. If you fancy a bet on who will get relegated, check out bettingapps.org to get the best apps for betting on football markets.
Reading have made one signing this summer, bringing goalkeeper Joao Virginia to Berkshire on a season-long loan from Everton. However, the 19-year-old is unlikely to make an overwhelming contribution with such little experience, and being a goalkeeper, you can only make so much of an impact.
Despite the transfer embargo, Gomes expressed his frustration with the lack of signings so far following defeat to Sevilla in a friendly. He said: “It was very important for us because these games showed us we need new players.
"I'm still very happy to try to increase the level of the quality, but if we want to achieve higher targets we need to make something happen in the next few days.
"So I expect I can play some of the four games [left of pre-season] with new players, otherwise it will be difficult to fight for something that everyone wants."
The Reading boss is yet to make a permanent signing during his tenure in Berkshire and selling a large portion of fringe players would make room for signings to be made and improve the squad. It is difficult for a manager to implement his style and philosophy into a team if he does not have the correct players at his disposal.
The Royals recruitment policy has been disastrous over the years - often targeting players with excessive wage demands and hefty transfer fees - which has had a damaging affect on the club. Former CEO Ron Gourlay was mainly responsible for that, and the introduction of Nigel Howe (current CEO) is steering Reading in a different, more sustainable direction.
Keeping the heart and soul of a club alive is essential in modern football, especially with the money being passed around like hot chips. With this transfer embargo, it is a chance to bring through some raw, rich talent from the youth system - a strategy that could reconnect and repair the identity of Reading Football Club. The next few weeks are crucial to the Royals success next season, and if they can find a way of selling enough players to allow Gomes to make signings he wants to fit his philosophy and beliefs, Reading fans have every reason to go into the 2019/20 with an optimistic mindset.
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