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Why Stam’s summer signings point at success for Reading

| 12.07.2016

Despite a disappointing 17th-placed finish in last season’s Championship, there are plenty of reasons for Reading fans to be optimistic ahead of the coming campaign, with new boss Jaap Stam securing a handful of excellent signings – and more reportedly on the way.

Perhaps the most established arrival is that of central midfielder Joey van den Berg. The tough-tackling 30-year-old impressed last season at Eredivisie side Heerenveen and proved himself a man capable of the big occasion, scoring a superb winner away at Dutch giants Feyenoord in January.

He’s joined by fellow Dutchman, Danzell Gravenberch, an imposing yet creative full-back signed from Dordrecht.

And he’s a man the new boss knows well, having come through the Ajax youth academy. However, his consummate displays last season for Dordrecht are where the 22-year-old has really made his name.

However, the most exciting buy could well be Joseph Mendez, who arrived from Le Havre – the French club where Paul Pogba cut his teeth.

The tricky winger netted nine times in Ligue 2 last season as Les Ciel et Marine narrowly missed out on promotion – six goals more than the departing Hal Robson-Kanu mustered in the English second-tier in 2015-16.

There’s also the small matter of signing former Finnish international keeper Anssi Jaakkola, while giant Argentine defender Gaston Campi is currently on trial at the Madejski Stadium – and would be a huge coup, with the 25-year-old currently at South American giants Racing Club.

There’s a clear pattern in Stam’s signings, who combine size and strength with flair, confidence, and a reliable end-product. And while the recently sold Aaron Tshibola will be missed, the Royals’ savvy boss is sure to use the reported £5m fee from his sale wisely.

That all means backing Reading at 9/1 to win promotion next season could prove a very smart bet indeed, while the 28/1 for them to win the title may also interest rightfully optimistic Royals fans.

Stam’s men begin the season at home to Preston, with 21/20 for the former Ajax assistant to enjoy the perfect start to his tenure in Berkshire.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.