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January Outgoings

With Reading languishing in 23rd you'd expect January to be a busy period to try to improve the squad, particularly with what José Gomes has been saying. However, I may be misguided, but I do think the quality in the team currently outweighs anybody who could be available unless the owners are prepared to plough cash in. As highlighted by the manager the outgoings will be almost as important as the other way.

I know The Tilehurst End somewhat stole my thunder here, but I'm going to lay out who I would keep from the first team squad. Some are to be reassessed during summer - players that could be useful if they step up their game and adapt to Gomes' style of football.

Goalkeepers


Vito Mannone


Sunderland fans may have been disappointed at him leaving given their luck in goal last season, but considering he was brought in as a replacement for Ali Al-Habsi he's not performed to the level needed. How different could the table look if he'd managed to keep out Mason Mount's tame shot in August, and given Reading a win - or at least a point - going into a tight away affair at The City Ground? Quite possibly fallen to the third choice keeper.

Sell


Sam Walker


Realistically we can only sell one of the current crop of keepers, unless we bring someone in so in my books Walker is fairly safe. He's not made many mistakes, but realistically won't get a look in unless Jaakkola picks up an injury. I'm not sure he's number one material, however, and wouldn't be surprised to see him leave as part of a continued clear out during summer unless we drop down a level.

Keep Unless We Add A Keeper - reassess in summer


Anssi Jaakkola


In my mind our best option currently. He may have had trouble adjusting to the play it short style, but he's the best shot stopper of the three, and commands his area well. He looked a little more assured in the Swansea game than he had at Millwall, so hopefully he'll get there. He just needs to stop dwelling on the ball when it's played back to him and I think he'll be serviceable for the time being. I was actually surprised that Mannone was even brought in given that Jaakkola has always seemed like a decent choice to me.

Keep


Fullbacks


Andy Yiadom


What started off as a wonder-buy has slowly been reigned in a little - but he still offers far more going forward than Gunter has done in many seasons. He's the first choice right back, and I seriously doubt we'd be able to find an improvement during the season.

Keep

Chris Gunter


A good back-up option at this level, it depends how happy he is to sit on the bench every week. From a club point of view it's a no brainer.

Keep

Omar Richards


As our only fit left back there's not much doubt that Richards will be here in February, but with that in mind it's a position we need to strengthen urgently.

Keep

Jordan Obita


Simple again - our first choice left back if he ever comes back to fitness.

Keep

Centre Backs


Liam Moore


Moore is an interesting case. Easily the first name on any team sheet, but if the club wanted to cash in this is a good window to do it. We're already in a re-building phase, and we've already seen that the academy can provide perfectly acceptable cover were they to be called on again.

Keep Unless a Big Offer Comes In

Tiago Ilori


Sometimes the best player on the pitch, occasionally the worst. Tiago's shown enough to make me believe that he can be one of the better players in the division if he manages to find a consistency that's been lacking recently.

Keep

John O'Shea


Potentially controversial, but I do quite like John O'Shea when he does play. He provides good, experienced cover and a calm head on the ball. The main issue is he's not getting any younger, and he's blocking the path of the academy players.

Sell

Tyler Blackett


Tyler Blackett - given that at one point he was booed off the field - has given a much better account of himself this season. I truly believe that he's one of the best players in the club with the ball at his feet, which is going to be crucial to Gomes' style of play.

Keep

Paul McShane


In our Play-Off final season McShane embodied what Reading were about. He put his body on the line and left it all out there, but after his performance against Blackburn this season I see absolutely no way back for him. His decline has been evident over the last couple of seasons, and it was capped off in that game by two rash challenges to give away two penalties, and two points.

Sell

Tom McIntyre & Gabriel Osho


I think this goes without saying, but both look like excellent prospects and impressed on their debuts.

Keep

Central Midfield

Leandro Bacuna


Bacuna is another that's so frustratingly inconsistent. A couple of times recently he's had games where he seems to be unable to have any impact at all. His tendency to think that he can get out of situations with his own ability rather than using teammates has put us under pressure a few times too. With all that being said, he does provide a good option when on song - and can pick out a pass when needed.

Keep

Liam Kelly


Another academy golden boy that's been finding it tough recently. When he broke onto the scene Kelly was a breath of fresh air. He still has a great hustle about him, and rarely can you say that he's not - at the very least - trying. Something, though, has got in his way a little bit. At only 23 he's still got more than enough time to turn it round, but I think for now he'd be best starting somewhere else, and being given every opportunity come the summer to prove that he can still make it here.

Loan - Reassess in summer

John Swift


John Swift is, again, another player that Gomes seems to have taken a liking to. Everything in the three matches since the new manager has joined has run through Swift. I think he has a big part to play in this 'new era'.

Keep

Andy Rinomhota


The only shining light of December

Keep At Any Cost

Saeid Ezatolahi


In the very few games he's actually played he appears to have been the big, strong CDM that we need; Calm on the ball and able to break up play. I can't wait to have him back. Only issue is he's turning into a bit of a Jason Roberts post-promotion taking resource while sitting on the physio table. He is currently only on loan; if we're not expecting to make him a permanent addition then I think it makes sense to cut our losses early, especially given his injury troubles.

Keep - if exercising option to buy

David Meyler


I was surprised to find out he's only 29; he plays as if he's got half a season left in his career. Been a bonafide disaster. Now behind basically every CM minus Edwards.

Sell


Dave Edwards


No prize for guessing where this one is going. Strangely in the first half of last season he seemed alright, but he wouldn't get in most League One teams, let alone at this level, now. Hope the move to Shrewsbury comes off.

Sell

Wingers

Mo Barrow


Tore it up under Stam, but notably regressed after Clement arrived. Hope that Gomes can get the best out of him, because I don't see many better wingers in the league when he's running at his man. Almost saw it during the Middlesbrough match but his disastrous final ball let him down - which ironically seemed to be the only thing Clement managed to actually improve for him.

Keep

Sone Aluko


Another much-maligned recent signing. Again, like Swift, seems as though he could play a role in our new style of football. He's technically gifted, and can get out of tight situations better than anybody in the side. He's not going to be a popular member of the team for a while yet, but if he can turn it around he can be a real asset. If not he's another that can be gone in summer.

Keep - reassess in summer

Garath McCleary


Clearly has some standing with the new boss as he was made captain against Swansea which, unfortunately, was his worst game this season. Last year he was a shadow of his former self - but it sounds like he's been carrying an injury during that period. If he's finally fully fit then he's another that can be a threat at this level. Another who I would reassess in summer after being given some time to adapt.

Keep - reassess in summer

Josh Sims


Sims being on loan makes it a little bit difficult. He's struggled to get in the team, and we're going to need everyone pulling together. With a bloated squad, and quite a few options out wide, I think it makes sense that he returns to Southampton.

Loan terminated

Callum Harriott


A bit of an unknown given his lengthy lay-off, but looked good on his return.

Keep

Adrian Popa


Seemingly as good as gone. It's a shame because I think Popa's done a job every time he's been in the team. I'll put him alongside Pelle Clement in 'ones I wish we'd seen more of'.

Sell

Strikers

Yakou Meite


On a bit of a drought, but could still be playing with a bit of a knock. Passionate, but hot-headed - which could be an issue if things start going against him. Still, he offers an option up-front or out wide and has a fairly good goal return.

Keep

Sam Baldock


Maybe hasn't had the impact that some would have wanted, but offers something different to the big men of Meite and Bodvarsson. Can also play out wide. Especially given the fact he's only just joined it's a bit of a no brainer.

Keep

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson


Our best striker this year

Keep

Marc McNulty


McNulty has only had a few chances, and actually has one goal from three starts - which is a generous spin admittedly. He seems to look a lot more to drop deep and find space with some quick passing. Probably surplus to requirements and the Championship may be above his level, although he does have some good numbers in League Two. I'd look to loan him out for the rest of the year, and see if there's a space for him during summer.

Loan - reassess in summer

Danny Loader


Finally got his chance after fans calling for it all season. He's not really had a standout performance yet, but hopefully he'll grow into it. The fact he's an academy talent will go for him, and hopefully he gets a bit more of a go at it than some others have been given.

Keep

Sam Smith


His loan spell at Oxford will, I think, prove to be his undoing. Being sent back early is a real kick in the teeth, but when you have 1 goal in 15 it's always going to happen. I think we're above his level.

Sell

Summary:

Goalkeepers: Jaakkola, [Walker]
Fullbacks: Yiadom, Gunter, Richards, Obita
Centrebacks: Moore, Ilori, Blackett, McIntyre, Osho
CMs: Bacuna, Swift, Rinomhota, Ezatolahi
Wingers: Barrow, Aluko, McCleary, Harriott
Strikers: Meite, Baldock, Bodvarsson, Loader

Loan: Kelly, McNulty

Sell: Mannone, O'Shea, McShane, Meyler, Edwards, Popa, Smith
Reassess: Walker, Kelly, McCleary, Aluko, McNulty

Potential Matchday:

Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Jaakkola, Yiadom, Moore, Blackett, Richards, Swift, Rinomhota, Barrow, Aluko, McCleary, Bodvarsson
Bench: Gunter, Ilori, Bacuna, Harriott, Meite, Loader, Baldock

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