Norwich City transfer rumours: Striker set to leave Reading as free agent
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Financial issues at Reading mean striker Danny Loader will be leaving the Royals this summer, according to Sky Sports, with the young striker having previously been linked with Norwich City.
The Telegraph reported in January that the Canaries and Premier League rivals Wolves had both been keen to sign the 19-year-old England youth international and Manchester United have also been linked in the past.
Wolves had agreed a deal with Reading in August of last year but the Championship club - managed by Canaries legend Mark Bowen - upped their demands late in the transfer window despite Loader being poised for a medical, who was part of the England squad which won the U17 World Cup in 2017.
Loader, who was born in Reading, has been capped throughout the age groups at international level and was on the fringes of an U17 squad which included players who have since become full internationals in Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.
He has been capped seven times at U20 level but has scored just twice in 35 games for Reading, since making his senior appearance as a 16-year-old in August 2017, the majority of which were as a substitute.
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He had made just 11 appearances this season, four of which were starts, with his only goal being against League One side Blackpool in the FA Cup third round.
Reading posted an operating loss of £40.6million for the 2018-19 financial year, paying £225 in wages for every £100 of income, the highest amount ever posted by a Championship club.
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The Royals have wealthy Chinese owners but this week announced that first-team players have agreed to defer “a substantial percentage” of their wages for three months as the club prepares for losses caused by football’s suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This has seen the Berkshire club use the government’s Job Retention Scheme to cover 80 percent of wages for their under-23 players, women’s team players and many off-field staff.
Set against that financial backdrop, Sky report that the offer of a long-term contract to Loader has been withdrawn, leaving him poised to become a free agent when his contract expires on June 30.
VERDICT: A young player whose reputation appears to have moved ahead of his achievements on the pitch for the time being, after showing plenty of potential at youth levels for club and country.
Wolves would appear to have the upper hand after coming so close to signing him last year but would he play regularly at an ambitious and wealthy Premier League club?
City could point towards the success of their academy system this year, however the Canaries already have a forward talent of their own in Republic of Ireland U21 striker Adam Idah, who became the club’s youngest ever hat-trick scorer in January.