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QPR seem ready to go to war with last season’s play-off finalists Reading to secure the services of Derby County right-back Cyrus Christie.
The 24-year-old is reportedly out of Gary Rowett’s first team picture now that Liverpool full-back Andre Wisdom has been signed. The Republic of Ireland international has featured regularly for Derby in recent times, starting 24 of his 27 Championship appearances last season in his preferred right-back slot.
His swashbuckling style means he would jump at the chance to play in a more advanced, wing-back role. This is something Jaap Stam prefers and although Chris Gunter did an admirable job last season out on the right, Christie would be seen as a step up and certainly so in the attacking third.
Christie has been at Pride Park for three years, having signed for the club from Coventry City back in July 2014. He is seen as one of the better full-backs in the league, despite the position he now finds himself in, and will spark a bidding war between clubs unless his new employment is nailed down soon.
QPR, while not being a bad destination, do not currently match up to Reading and this puts the Royals in pole position. Despite his fairly combative nature; making 2 tackles per game and fouling 1.1 times per game, he was booked only 4 times in the league last term and clearly knows how to time his tackles just right.
Christie’s averages are rather good; 1.4 successful take-ons per game versus losing possession 1.1 times per game means he would add something to the side. Add to that his 75% pass completion rate, it shows Reading would be gaining a player who generally keeps the ball within his team’s grasp.
He threw in 1.4 crosses per game last term – something which will improve when he plays in a wing-back role. He even added a strike of his own to Derby’s lower than ideal total in the Championship. All-in-all, given Reading’s style of play, they will struggle at this level to find a better option at right wing-back than Cyrus Christie and need to therefore do all they can to sign the player.
For his part, this move may well end up being the best thing that has happened to him and so the apparent negative of being put up for sale after Wisdom’s arrival may not be such a bad thing after all.