News and Views

Royals Set For Another Big Summer Of Player Disruption

17 January 2023
By Hob Nob Anyone?

Despite expectations of a potential relegation battle in the Championship campaign of 2022/23, manager Paul Ince has seen his side enjoy a more comfortable than expected opening half to the season, and although many would feel a genuine push for the Play Offs may be a step too far given the other issues at the club, whilst only a four point gap remains to West Bromwich Albion in sixth place, fans will understandably continue dreaming.

Whatever ultimately happens this year on the Play Off front and where ever The Royals eventually finish in the English second tier table, everyone appreciates the main aim of the year is to simply stay away from the drop zone whilst we work through the ongoing issues that we have. On that score, it is set to be a big summer full of playing squad decisions, as right now we have ten seniors members of the team coming into the final few months of their existing contracts and as things stand come the end of the year, they will be free to depart. Then it is Powerplay slots time again as we look to replace them.

Players who could walk away for nothing at the end of the season include Liam Moore, Yakou Meite and Lucas Joao, so you would assume that discussions and plans are already being held with so many futures up in doubt.

As we saw with striker Andy Carroll's new deal being announced last week, the club can offer new deals to existing players despite currently being under a transfer embargo and as well as Carroll's new 18 month deal, the club have tied down former Metz centre half Amadou Mbengue to a new shorter deal that also sees him remain with us until the summer now.

With an ongoing need to reduce costs, expenditure and the overall wage bill though, it is likely that some tough and unpopular decisions will have to be made in the months ahead and there will inevitably be one or two high profile player departures in June and July as we look for a much stronger financial footing in the seasons ahead.

The players currently set to depart ahead of the beginning of the 2023/24 campaign are:

Luke Southwood, Scott Dann, Nesta Guinness-Walker, Liam Moore, Amadou Mbengue, Dejan Tetek, Junior Hoilett, Shane Long, Lucas Joao, Yakou Meite.

These obviously then include our loanees Joe Lumley, Baba Rahman, Jeff Hendrick, Mamadou Loum and Tyrese Fornah.

Berkshire Live journalist Jonathan Low held a recent webchat with fans on Monday lunch time following on from the 2-2 draw with Queens Park Rangers on Saturday afternoon, and obviously the future of soon to be out of contract players came up during the questioning, and this was his take on things as they stand.

"I think like last year, the majority of those out of contract will be off. Those that do stay will have to accept a reduced wage package. There is still a great need to cut costs and even though there were some big name exits last summer, more are needed to help balance the finances. I can see Guinness-Walker and maybe Hoilett and Mbengue staying but apart from that, the rest will be off I'd say. Meite will be on big money and given he's been here since 2016, will probably want a fresh challenge elsewhere."

It will be a busy old time again, but hopefully the club make the right decisions and we continue moving forward again, in a much healthier state.

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