A brilliant summer transfer window for Reading has brought some much-needed optimism back to the Madejski Stadium as the Royals look to improve on their performances last season.
Here’s a quick look at the squad depth that Reading currently have with the new signings they’ve made recently.
Rafael and Joao Virginia (loan) both signed for the Royals this summer as Emiliano Martinez and Anssi Jaakkola departed the club. Although Rafael has looked very good in his first two games for the club, 19 year old Virginia has made errors that have led to crucial goals being conceded.
Although it was very hard to replace that ability of Emi Martinez, Rafael has been capped at senior level for Brazil and could turn out to be a very good piece of business for Reading. The Brazilian cancelled his contract with Sampdoria so that he could sign for the Berkshire side on a free transfer.
Sam Walker, Jokull Andresson and Coniah Boyce-Clarke are all battling it out to be the third choice keeper. With the young goalkeeping talent that Reading have at their disposal, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Walker leave the club at some point in the next year.
Squad Depth Grade: B+
Currently, Reading only have one option at left back at this moment in time in Omar Richards, with Tyler Blackett and Jordan Obita on the sidelines. When the pair return, this will be one of Reading’s strongest positions. All three players have proved to be of Championship quality, Richards has performed admirably for the Royals so far this season.
In the right back spots, Andy Yiadom is currently the first choice and has been one of the first names on the team sheet since his arrival last summer from Barnsley on a free contract. Academy graduates Teddy Howe and Tennai Watson will provide backup for the Ghanaian after Chris Gunter was transfer-listed by the club at the end of last season.
Central defence looks just as strong as the fullback positions with the loan signing of Matt Miazga and free transfer of Michael Morrison. These signings have allowed Reading to play three at the back with a trio of the most capable central defenders in the Championship.
Captain Liam Moore, Miazga and Morrison formed a defensive wall in front of goalkeeper Rafael, who’s gaining confidence with every passing game. Young Tom McIntyre also looks like a very promising player who could be a good replacement for Miazga when the American’s loan from Chelsea expires. Tyler Blackett is another option that the Royals could use in central defence if he’s not required at left back/left wing back.
Squad Depth Grade: A
Charlie Adam and Pele both joined the club this summer to provide depth in the central defensive midfield position. Andy Rinomhota was named the official player of the season at the end of the last campaign and is likely to be a key player for the Royals again this season, despite not starting against Cardiff City.
Young central midfielder Ryan East, who came from the academy, may not be ready for the first team just yet. Although John Swift has been played in a deeper position so far this season, could Reading have brought another defensive midfield player in?
Ovie Ejaria’s arrival on deadline day capped off what was a brilliant transfer window for the Berkshire side. His brilliant performance on Sunday against Cardiff City helped Reading take a convincing 3-0 win. He’s likely to be in the starting eleven regularly throughout the season, with John Swift also able to play as a more advanced midfielder.
Younger players like Michael Olise, Jordan Holsgrove and Josh Barrett could also play in this position if Ejaria picks up an injury and Swift is needed in a more defensive midfield position.
Squad Depth Grade: B
New signings Lucas Joao and George Puscas tore Cardiff City apart on Sunday, with the pair being Reading’s two marquee signings this summer. Their additions have been much-needed after Nelson Oliveira’s departure in the summer when his loan contract expired.
Yakou Meite and Lucas Boye are also options for the Royals, especially if Gomes uses a formation which includes inside forwards. The pair as inside forwards could be a very good option to have if they need a Plan B.
The attacking options for Reading don’t end there. Andrija Novakovich and Danny Loader are two promising players who have come from the Reading academy, both will be looking to make a good impact this season. Loader was close to a move to Wolves before Reading pulled the plug on the deal.
Sam Baldock may also be an option for Jose Gomes after he forced his way back in to the Reading side. This was after he was also transfer-listed by the club earlier on in the year.
Squad Depth Grade: A