Crystal Palace in a ‘three-way’ battle for £5million Reading striker
Premier League duo Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion have been joined by Championship runners-up Watford in ‘expressing interest’ in signing Reading’s Yakou Meite this summer, according to The Telegraph.
Reading may be in financial uncertainty this summer and their hand may be forced into selling their star assets like Meite, who would only cost interested sides £5 million. The Telegraph is reporting that Palace is going head-to-head with bitter rivals Brighton and have been joined in the race by newly-promoted Watford as they look to strengthen their attack ahead of next season.
After a great start for Reading with seven wins in eight games and a run that led the Royals six points clear at the top of the Championship in November, promotion hopes were soon dashed and the season seemed to end in a whimper.
The Royals automatic promotion hopes never seemed to take off and their play-off aspirations followed suit as Veljko Paunovic’s men started to slide down the table. However, the Royals finished a reasonable 7th in the league and are now looking ahead to next season in the hope of retaining their best players.
However, due to the club’s financial uncertainty Paunovic admits ‘it could affect’ contract talks, he said last month: “We are not facing our new reality. We are all grown people. We know this is a possibility they could leave.
“I believe that the core of our playing squad is under contract and we will try to keep all those players [out of contract], who had a huge contribution, and all bought into our vision and our identity. The financial situation could affect that picture, but I know that the club is working hard to fix this.”
Meite now seems to be one of many Reading players who’s attracting interest, the Ivory Coast international was largely overlooked for Lucas Joao this season partly to team selection and injury. However, the 25-year-old still managed an impressive 12 goals in 19 Championship starts as he became an important member of the Royals’ late play-off charge.
You can argue for all three interested sides wanting a striker this summer, Palace to add firepower to a goal-shy side, Brighton to help out Neal Maupay, and Watford may be looking at a replacement for Troy Deeney. Therefore, Meite could be a bargain for any interested sides looking for a goal scorer this summer considering he’ll only cost £5 million.