Reading Football Club News: July 2016

Royals Complete Yakou Meite Signing

29 July 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading have completed the signing of young French player Yakou Meite from Paris Saint-Germain. Meite continues Reading's import of European players and signs on a three year contract. At just 20 years old he makes sure that Reading retain a very young first team squad ahead of the new Championship season.

Born in Paris, Meite has been at PSG since he was 13 and has worked through the academy there before making a single late first team appearance in stoppage time in April. With first team opportunities limited at PSG he has made the move to England and will take squad number 19 with the Royals. His parents are from the Ivory Coast and he has featured for the U17s (scoring 1 goal in 5 appearances) and U20s (4 appearances) for his parents home country. He is primarily a left winger.

Academy Get Bristol Rovers, Pompey and Yeovil

28 July 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading will take part in the EFL Trophy (Johnstone's Paint Trophy) this season after being invited as one of the 16 Premier League and Championship clubs with a Category 1 status academy. The Royals weren't in the original 16 clubs to be invited to take part, but were called on after several of the countries "biggest" clubs declined the change to be involved. The format of 48 clubs from League One and League Two combined with 16 academy sides from the top two tiers of English football is on trial for this season only.

The competition usually involves just the lower two divisions of the Football League. Reading, and the other academy teams, will be required to field at least 6 under-21 players in their starting eleven in all fixtures. The format will allow Reading to play a mixture of academy and fringe first team squad players as they look to progress in the competition - which finishes at Wembley Stadium on 2nd April 2017.

The Royals have been drawn in Southern Group A, which includes Bristol Rovers, Portsmouth, and Yeovil. As an academy side entry, Reading will play two games away followed by their final fixture at home. The away games are Bristol Rovers on 30 August 2016 and Portsmouth on 4 October 2016. The home fixture is expected to take place at the Madejski Stadium on 8 November 2016 against Yeovil Town. The games take place in the International breaks - the only useable breaks in the fixture lists - which may have put off some of the invited academy sides.

The 16 academy sides include Leicester City, Southampton, West Ham United, Stoke City, Chelsea, Everton, Swansea City, West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Norwich City, Middlesbrough, Brighton and Hove Albion, Derby County, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, and Reading. Last year saw Barnsley lift the trophy with Wembley victory over Oxford United.

No Squad Numbers For Fosu, Stacey and Kuhl

26 July 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading have revealed their squad numbers for the new 2016/2017 Championship season. The numbers revealed a few possible surprises with Jonathan Bond claiming the number 1 jersey and Jaakkola taking number 31. A number of squad players, who have been involved pre-season, are missing from the list giving a heavy hint they may not expect to be involved at the Madejski Stadium this season. The missing list includes Fosu, Stacey and Kuhl. New signing Joey Van Den Berg will wear shirt number 4 this season, while John Swift will be number 8. Joseph Mendes will be the club number 9 with Gravenberch number 28. Zak Jules finds himself in the official squad list and will be given 22 for the new season.

  • 1 Jonathan Bond
  • 2 Chris Gunter
  • 3 Jake Cooper
  • 4 Joey Van Den Berg
  • 5 Paul McShane
  • 6 George Evans
  • 7 Roy Beerens
  • 8 John Swift
  • 9 Joseph Mendes
  • 10 Deniss Rakels
  • 11 Jordan Obita
  • 12 Garath McCleary
  • 13 Reading Fans
  • 14 Dominic Samuel
  • 16 Oliver Norwood
  • 18 Yann Kermorgant
  • 21 Stephen Quinn
  • 22 Zak Jules
  • 23 Danny Williams
  • 26 Ali Al Habsi
  • 28 Danzell Gravenberch
  • 29 Josh Barrett
  • 30 Tennai Watson
  • 31 Anssi Jaakkola
  • 38 Liam Kelly

Pre-Season Victory At Swindon

20 July 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading secured a 2-1 friendly win at Swindon Town last night - but had to come from behind after the home side took a first half lead. The Royals fielded a very young side that was missing most of the first team and gave the impression that Reading had taken an under-21 side to the County Ground. Despite the game being nothing more than a friendly, Reading took nearly 1,500 supporters to their old rivals. Reading's late goals were a big bonus to the travelling fans to make sure we claimed a victory more important than the game's status might suggest.

There was plenty of opportunity to see some of Reading's new signings with new goalkeeper Jaakkola playing the full match, and John Swift and Mendes playing a half each. Jaakkola was beaten when the ball took a deflection on the way into the back of the net just before half time. Reading looked far from convincing at the back, but were brighter with their attacking play, although we needed to rely on goals from two substitutes to secure the win. Rakels replaced Samuel in the first half and Stacey replaced Barrett with just over quarter of an hour to go. Rakels made it 1-1 from close range after a cross from Tanner on the right, and Stacey made it 2-1 with 88 minutes on the clock when he made a cut run, cut into the area and placed the ball past the goalkeeper for the winner.

Reading Team: Jaakkola, Keown (Long), Dickie, Jules (Griffin), Campi, Kelly (Rinomhota), Barrett (Stacey), Swift (Evans), Tanner, Mendes (Fosu), Samuel (Rakels).

Dutch Influx Continues As Beerens Confirmed

16 July 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?

The influx of Dutch into Reading FC has continued with the confirmed signing of winger Roy Beerens. Beerens has been on the radar for some time and signs from German top tier club Hertha Berlin on a three year contract. Jaap Stam spoke very highly of the player on his arrival as he continues to build his new squad ready for the new season.

The 28 year old player spent two seasons at Hertha Berlin after a career that has included spells at Dutch sides AZ Alkmaar, Heerenveen and PSV Eindhoven. Beerens is a light weight player in size, but is reported to be strong and fast and can play down either wing. Beerens will link up with fellow recent signings Joey van den Berg and Danzell Gravenberch as Reading FC continues to take on a more and more Dutch look.

Transfers Continue As Swift Joins Royals

14 July 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading have completed the signing of midfielder John Swift from Chelsea. The 21 year old player signs on a three year contract that can be extended to four years. Swift came through the Chelsea youth system after a spell at Portsmouth. He turned professional in 2014 at Chelsea before heading out on loan to Rotherham, Swindon and then finally Brentford last season. He enjoyed his best success at Brentford where he became a key first team player after his arrival in October 2015. He went on to make 28 appearances for the Bees, scoring seven goals before his loan spell finished at the end of the season.

Swift looks like a very bright home grown prospect and has played for all levels of the England team from Under 16 up to Under 21, making three appearances to date for the under 21s. Swift is expected to link up with the squad in Holland for pre-season training and could feature in Friday night's friendly.

Squad Travel To Holland

13 July 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading have taken a squad of 21 players on a brief pre-season visit of Holland, that will finish on Friday night with a friendly against Saudi Arabian top tier side Al-Taawoun. The Royals will be training in Oosterbeek with most of the first team squad. New signing Anssi Jaakkola has flown out with his new team mates, but fellow goalkeeper Jonathan Bond misses the trip due to injury. Those involved in Euro 2016 will also miss out on Holland but are expected to return to pre-season training next week.

The squad includes a number of academy graduates as the Royals look to "build from within" for the new season. Meanwhile Reading won 2-1 with the remainder of their Under 21 side at Billericay Town last night. The Royals took the lead before the home side equalised, and the Royals needed a late goal to beat the Isthmian League side.

Goalkeeper Jaakkola Signs Two Year Deal

11 July 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading continue to be busy in the summer transfer window, and have completed the signing of Finnish goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola, who joins the Royals on a two year contract. The player's career history to date fails to confirm if Jaap Stam considers the goalkeeper as a useful back-up or a serious contender to become Reading's first choice this season. With Al-Habsi and Bond both hoping to claim the number 1 spot this season, it seems a bit of a surprise that Stam has added another goalkeeper into the squad - unless Jonathan Bond is set to leave the club over the coming weeks.

At 6 foot 5, Jaakkola is quite a presence in goal, and at 29 has plenty of years of football ahead of him as he looks to make his mark in the Championship. He is a player that appears to be well known by Stam and signs from South African side Ajax Cape Town. He does have some experience in Britain after playing 14 games for Scottish side Kilmarnock in the 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 seasons. His single senior International cap for Finland came in a 0-5 defeat in Sweden in 2011. Since turning professional in 2006 he has made 116 appearances - most of which have came in the last three seasons since signing for Ajax Cape Town.

Pre-Season Starts With Win At Boreham

11 July 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Reading started their pre-season campaign with a 5-0 victory over Boreham Wood yesterday. Midfielder George Evans gave Reading a half time lead before the Royals cruised to victory with two goals from Tariqe Fosu, one from Deniss Rakels and one from Liam Kelly who wrapped up the victory. Reading started with a strong team, and dominated the game, against a side that struggled at the wrong end of the National League last season.

The fixture allowed Jaap Stam to try out most of his team that will have a chance of seeing some first team action this season. Van den Berg and Gravenberch both saw some action, while Mendes was at the game but not in the playing squad. Second half scorers Fosu and Kelly were both introduced at the break before Stam made eight further changes just inside the second half to bring on a group of youngsters, replacing more experienced players in the squad. Stam would have been pleased with the outcome as his young side, introduced at 2-0, went on to add three further goals.

Reading Squad: Al-Habsi, Ward, Watson, Obita, Cooper, McShane, Griffin, Kelly, Van den Berg, McCleary, Evans, Stacey, Barrett, Tanner, Kermorgant, Williams, Rakels, Fosu, Samuel, Gravenberch, Dickie, Jules.

Tshibola Confirms Move To Aston Villa

10 July 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?

This summer is starting to follow a similar pattern as key players continue to leave the club to be replaced with cheaper options. The departure of Aaron Tshibola to Championship side Aston Villa for five million pounds was confirmed this weekend. It is a huge disappointment to see such a big prospect exit the club, but there is nothing the club can do to stop talented players like Tshibola leaving when big money offers come in. The player was clearly determined to leave for a "bigger club" and five million pounds is the kind of money the Royals were never going to turn down when money is so tight.

Tshibola signs with Villa on a four year contract, which is clearly a great deal for the player and absolutely the right move for him. He will will link up with Steve Clarke who is now assistant manager at the just-relegated club, and obviously had a very high opinion of the player from his time with the Royals. Tshibola is a player on the up after establishing himself as a first pick for the Royals this season and having a great season when the Royals were generally struggling.

After releasing a number of players, and following the return of loanees at the end of the season, the squad is currently looking a bit light as Stam looks to strengthen on the cheap with the limited funds the club will allow him.

Forward player Jospeh Mendes became Reading's third summer signing last week, arriving at the club from second division French side Le Havre, and signing a two year contract. Mendes breaks the trend of the flow in of Dutch players, having being born and played most of his football in France. Having arrived in Le Havre two years ago, he went on to make 59 appearances for the club and scored 11 goals before his move to Reading.

Mendes follows the signing of Dutch midfielder Joey van den Berg, which completed on 1 July. Joey van den Berg, 30 years old also signed a two year deal. The only other signing so far this summer was fellow Dutch player Danzell Gravenberch who was confirmed as an early summer signing. It is seems clear that new manager Jaap Stam will need to find further players to strengthen what looks like a squad that will seriously struggle in the Championship this season.