Reading FC News: Manager Veljko Paunovic says club are looking to sign free agents
Reading FC manager Veljko Paunovic has confirmed the Royals will be looking to bring in at least one free agent after the January transfer window saw his struggling side add just two players.
Goalkeeper Karl Hein was loaned out by Arsenal while winger Tom Ince arrived on loan from Stoke in exchange for Liam Moore. But Paunovic believes there are still holes in his squad and said on Monday afternoon that the club would be looking for free agents to bolster their squad for the relegation battle.
The manager made it clear in January that he felt his side needed defensive reinforcements, but despite their best efforts, nothing could be done to resolve this issue in the transfer window.
“We tried,” Paunovic said of the defender’s signing attempts. “Now we have to look in free agency. We tried all the way. We tried with a few loans, with Liverpool, with Stoke in this exchange. We were very creative and active and in the end it was the best we could do.
“We will continue to look in the free agency market to see if we can get someone to fill this position, as I think we will always need it. Given our circumstances: injuries and people who still need to get back in shape. But what we have to do is bring in someone who is ready now, we can’t bring in someone and wait two months for them to get fit.
Adding to the lack of defensive reinforcements, Reading lost two strikers in January – Andy Carroll and George Puscas – without bringing in any. Paunovic confirmed that his offensive options are another area they could look to address in the free agent market.
“It was an opportunity for all parties to change and now we all move on to our goals and objectives in front of us,” the Serb said of Puscas’ departure on the deadline day for Pisa.
“We are going to look at Yakou’s return as a big and massive improvement in the team. We are going to look at Jahmari (Clarke) who is finally fit and training with the first team who has shown in the past that he can be helpful to the team.
“We’re going to look to see if we can improve our backline and other opportunities in free agency. We still have two spots in our current squad that we can fill. We are therefore limited but we have room for improvement.
“I’ll tell you honestly: I don’t want to bring in someone we already have. I want something new, something different. Maybe the pace, maybe the quickness, the ability to influence in the final third if he’s a winger, a pure striker, a number ten.
“We just need something different I think. Our problem especially last year was that we had the same type of guy in attack and when the teams figured out how to play against us he let us down. It was difficult to change him from the bench.”
Tom Ince, who turned 30 at the end of January, should help provide an extra spark to Paunovic’s attack and could make his debut as early as Wednesday on Reading’s trip to Bristol City.
“I think we need attacking options. And you never know what can happen. And Tom (Ince) is definitely a player with a lot of talent that fits the way we want to play and not just this year but last season he would have been helpful as well. I think it was a great solution that we found for all parties: for our club, for Tom Ince, for Liam Moore, and it’s also something that worked for Stoke. So it was a good deal. »