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Reading’s failure to get to the Premier League by the narrowest of margins must have hurt badly. They will need to recuperate, regroup and perhaps rebuild to ensure it doesn’t happen again next term.
Even without Newcastle and Brighton to contend with in 2017/18, strong teams are coming down in Middlesbrough and Hull in particular and with the likes of Leeds United and Fulham expected to be a big danger, Reading are far from guaranteed to repeat the feat of this season which saw them finish 3rd in the division.
New players will be needed at the Madejski Stadium to strengthen the team and here we look at three such individuals who could be on their radar over the coming weeks:
Jaap Stam will have things far from his own way with this one, as Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is apparently in the market for a new defender, given the possibility of Ryan Shawcross’ departure, as well as uncertainty about the commitment of Bruno Martins Indi.
Nancy are expecting a fee of around £3.5million for Diagne and this will not be out of reach for Reading, though the stiff competition could drive the price up. Should they land the big defender, he could prove to be crucial in helping the Berkshire side reach the top level.
No-one made more clearances in the Championship last season than Wolves defender Batth and such an attribute could be crucial to Reading next season, given their open style of play.
The 26-year-old is just reaching his peak right now and looks a probable Premier League defender in the making, so Reading may have to get in there now and tempt him with an offer of potential top level football in a year’s time.
The 23-year-old Lawrence had an excellent season in Suffolk and produced an average of 2.4 key passes per game in the Championship, bettered only by players now commanding massive transfer fees such as Tom Cairney.
Lawrence’s ability in the final third yielded results too; 9 assists, making him one of the most productive players in the division. Should Reading be able to land defenders such as the ones above and still allow themselves an attacking, open game plan, then people like Lawrence could be providing the killer passes which would make the difference between promotion bridesmaids and belle’s of the ball.