The five key figures of Reading FC’s transfer policy this summer
Five key Reading FC figures are helping shape the club’s recruiting plans this summer.
The offseason is arguably the most important time of year for any club and is especially important this time around as clubs are recovering from their losses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Following the release of 19 players from the club last month, Royals boss Veljko Paunovic is looking to refresh his squad ahead of the new 2021/22 Championship campaign.
The Serbian has two months to prepare players for the season, but will face a number of changes to his squad in the coming weeks as transfers go into effect.
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Paunovic will be hoping to keep the bulk of his squad, but arrivals and departures are inevitable to help the club get back on their feet and off the pitch.
In the absence of a director of football at the club – the person believed to be the majority behind the transfers – here are the five figures behind Reading recruiting this summer.
The Chinese owner of Reading has had the final say on club transfers since taking over after the play-off final in 2017.
Some of his calls have come under criticism, however, such as the decision not to let Danny Loader leave for a fee when Wolves were interested in signing him and persisted in not letting John Swift leave when Sheffield United wanted.
The businessman has pumped over £ 200million into Reading since 2018 and has undoubtedly done a lot of good work.
Mr Dai must ensure that the big calls this summer do not put the club further in the red from a financial point of view.
The Reading chief executive, who was appointed last summer after Nigel Howe left, has been somewhat of a silent figure over the past year and rarely speaks in public.
He wrote to fans in an open letter in April thanking them for their loyalty and support to the team.
Dayong is indeed Mr Dai’s eyes and ears on the pitch at the club and has a responsibility to ensure that any transfer activity involving the club this summer is approved by the English Football League (EFL).
Since Reading does not have a football director to oversee administrative affairs, the manager is part of a four-man council dealing with such matters.
The Serb will dig through his contacts to see what deals can be done for Reading.
Paunovic has already admitted that all signings are likely to come out of the free agent market or be loan deals, so he will have to be smart to find the best players for the club from a footballing and financial perspective.
Already a legendary figure of the club and now director of the academy, Gilkes is on the board of directors despite being primarily responsible for overseeing the recruitment of the U23s.
After the departure of Thierry Nevers for West Ham United and the release of players such as Conor Lawless, Oli Pendlebury, Jayden Onen and Omri Luzon, the U23 are looking rather light for the new season.
Gilkes’ main priority will be to ensure that the squad is a competitive team in 2021/22 and can continue to provide a path up to the first team level.
The club’s CFO, along with Dayong, Paunovic and Gilkes, forms the football board in Reading.
He’s responsible for reviewing finances and making sure the club stays on the right side of profit and sustainability guidelines.
Considering the pandemic and the losses the Royals suffered in 2020/21 from not having fans in games, this summer’s financial dealings are arguably the biggest ever.