How will Reading’s transfer window impact the rest of the season?
When Reading entered January it was fair to say that there was a great deal of pressure of Jaap Stam and his scouting team to deliver some big changes to the playing staff.
It has been a difficult season so far for the Royals and they have found themselves in the lower reaches of the Championship table.
The Reading faithful were looking to January as an opportunity to put right some of the issues surrounding the club, but with limited funds and an increasingly frustrated set of fans; Jaap Stam has no choice but to deliver.
The Dutchman has managed to add two new faces to the club in what was by and large a quiet transfer window for the Royals. However, Reading have signed what on paper look like pretty solid acquisitions.
The first to arrive was Tommy Elphick from Aston Villa. The former Bournemouth man looked calm and comfortable during his debut in the desperately needed midweek victory over Burton Albion and adds experience to what at times this season has looked like a ropey defence.
Reading have at fielded a slightly makeshift back line at times this season and will be pleased to have acquired a player that can operate on the left, the right, or in the centre.
The second and final player Reading added was a name the fans had been crying out for. Indeed, Chris Martin arrived from fellow Championship side Derby County, with a reputation for scoring goals and plenty of them.
The Scot has experienced some difficulties in the final third this term, but has a proven track record in the second tier and could prove to be the focal point that Reading have been looking for since the decline in the form of Yann Kermorgant.
However, with a maximum of 16 games available to Martin to turn around his own form, it remains to be seen whether that will be enough for the former Fulham man to make a serious impact in Berkshire.
The two main departures of the transfer window were Roy Beerens and Adi Popa, who left for Vitesse Arnhem and Al-Taawoun, respectively.
Beerens, brought into the team by Stam, was a regular in the Royals line-up. However, some quiet performances had left question marks over the the midfielder’s commitment to the club.
There is no doubt that the one time Dutch international is a talented player and was a consistent performer in the promotion push of last season, but often struggled with the physical side of the game.
Popa has departed on loan, but his Royal’s future seems to be in doubt. The Romanian international was never really given an extended run in the first team. Perhaps not as technically gifted as some of his colleagues, the winger possesses an excellent work rate and often looked bright and lively in his infrequent appearances under Jaap Stam.
The Romanian’s move to Saudi Arabia has frustrated some Reading fans, who feel that, with the likes of Sone Aluko and Garath McClearly struggling for form, the decision to reduce the club’s wide options, and not bring in any replacements, could add to the Berkshire side’s woes.
One player that Reading fans will be delighted to not see departing the club is Liam Moore. There was rumoured to be a great deal of interest in the imposing centre half and Jaap Stam will be delighted to have kept hold of the former Leicester man.
If Reading are to turn around their form, Moore will be crucial. He was a key man in the promotion charge last season and always plays with a great deal of passion and commitment, which has endeared him to the club faithful.
It is fair to say that Reading have not enjoyed the best of seasons. The win against Burton was massive. It was a long overdue result and many were calling for Jaap Stam to leave the club.
However, the club are now operating within a tight financial situation and it is thought that the cost of sacking Stam and hiring a replacement could be beyond them at this time, which leaves the Reading faithful with little option but to back the Dutchman and his current team.
Sometimes in football, supporters are quick to demand a complete overhaul of the team and management when a club is going through a rough couple of seasons. However, this is often not the best possible solution.
If Stam was going to be moved on, it would have happened earlier in the campaign and it is fair to say that Reading do still have a talented squad full of Premier League experience and current internationals.
While the club have only added two new players to the fold, this may just be enough to lift the spirits around the club.
If they can deliver a victory against Millwall on the weekend, it could be a springboard for the rest of the season.
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