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Murray: Yes or No?

With Reading failing to score far too often - ten matches this season already - there's fierce debate over whether Glenn Murray is the right person to bring in on a permanent deal after a solid loan spell.

Reading actually have a better record without Murray in the team (winning 42% as opposed to 33%), and equally even with Murray's goals he was still a part of 60% of games where Reading failed to score. Obviously the headline figure is Murray has eight goals to his name, tied with Cox as the club's top scorer. The only other viable option to fill the role - Pogrebnyak - only has one, but with only a third of the playing time. Interestingly though if you look back at Pogrebnyak's 13/14 season he's far more efficient, scoring every 5.5 shots (he's taken twelve for his single goal this season), compared to Murray who fires home every 8.

Murray also loses the ball more often, on average being dispossessed 1.3 times and hitting 3.1 misplaced passes over 90 minutes. Pog this season has been dispossessed a similar amount (1.4) but is unsuccessful in his passing only half the time (1.6). The last real field of battle is aerial ability in which Murray far outscores his opponent - winning 47% as opposed to Pog's 38%. However Pog goes up in twice the number of aerial battles, which may show a floor in Reading's plan when he's on the field. He's always shown himself to be much more adept when the ball's played into his feet.

So Murray probably edges out Pog in the stats, but that still doesn't mean he's the right player. Signing Glenn Murray isn't going to be a perfect fix, even if he scored 30 last time he had a full season in the division. There's still numerous games where Reading failed to score with him on the pitch, and without goals from elsewhere on the field it's but a plaster. £2m is also more than the club can afford to spend, particularly when you consider that the player is over 30 and will have neither resale value, or a long term future. You only need look at Roberts to see how poor contracts can hamper a club.

Personally I don't see Murray as the answer, especially considering the price tag in relation to the club's financial position. I'd like to see HRK given a chance in behind Pog, with Blackman on the wing. While the latter has been poor finishing, his dribbling and skill is welcomed on the wing, and has put some great crosses in, even if they haven't been converted. HRK is obviously having a stinker of a season, but his lack of creativity is somewhat negated when played so high up the pitch. Both have killer shots from distance as well, which might just kickstart the goals from midfield.

I'm not well versed enough in the lower leagues to know if there's players to bring in. I'm gutted we missed out on Andre Gray, who has ten goals in twenty five appearances, is still only twenty-three, and appears to have made the step up from the conference look easy. Similarly Patrick Bamford, on loan at Middlesbrough, has eight goals in just sixteen starts and only Federici's acrobatics kept him out earlier in the month. There are definitely players out there if Reading want to take the chance, or promoting from within worked well earlier in the season; we'll just have to wait and see what the new owners have in store, but with two-thirds of the window gone it does seem to be 'business as usual'.


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