This time last year Reading had lost the play-off final to a swashbuckling Swansea City looking destined for great things and with star striker Shane Long said to be on his way to the Premier League, things weren’t looking good for the Royals.
Fast forward a year and Reading are promoted as Champions after an astounding second half of the season which saw them collect 47 points out of a possible 54. This is thanks partly to a Russian investor injecting some money and an inspired signing by manager Brian McDermott, Jason Roberts. Reading’s opposition for promotion were stunned into to submission and now they are coming for the big guns of the Premier League.
Last time they were promoted as Champions they became everyone’s favourite team by pulling off some great team performances without house hold names and launching the careers of Kevin Doyle, David Kitson and Nick Shorey. This time they are aiming to do the same but with much more fire power. They have already flexed enough financial muscle to shrug Fulham off the signing of Pavel Pogrebnyak as well as adding Danny Guthrie and Gareth Macleary from Newcastle and Nottingham Forest respectively.
According to the Mirror McDermott is lining up three more signings to his squad with Geoffrey Kondogbia, Danny Simpson and Adrian Mariappa all locked in the Bekshire teams sights. Due to contract negotiations failing at Newcastle Danny Simpson has become available and looks set to be joined by Watford’s star defender from last season Mariappa as McDermott is bulking up his defence for the rigours of the Premier League.
Kondogbia is more of an investment at only 19. His is capped at France under 19 level and had a very impressive first year in Lens first team last season. So much so that a few Premier League teams have shown interest but Reading have jumped the que with their Russian millions to potentially grab a hold of the youngster first.
At 19 he is fast, strong and very mature. He has all the capabilities to become an excellent defensive midfielder and could blossom at a club that has produced a surprising amount stars. The lanky Frenchmen could cost £4million but that could prove to be a wise purchase if he is treated correctly and given the right amount of game time.
It was also reported in the Daily Mail on Thursday that Reading are preparing an audacious £5million bid for Jermain Defoe. With the money now available to McDermott along with his ambitious nature, it could be the perfect place for Defoe to reignite a career that has gone stale after a fruitless campaign last season. With AVB looking to revolutionise the Tottenham team it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Defoe playing in blue and white next season.
Personally I think Defoe should be kept at Tottenham as he is able to pop up with an important goal now and again but if it is first team football he desperately wants then Reading could be the best option for him.
With the possibility of adding Defoe to a strike force consisting of the powerful Pogrebnyak, the experienced Roberts and the savy Adam Le Fondre (who began last season playing in the fourth tier) Reading can really pull of some surprises next season and begin to build a foundation for a club looking to establish themselves in the Premier League.
Along with the returning Ian Harte, I can’t wait to see Reading line up next season as big things will be expected of Brian McDermott’s team come August.