McCleary snubs Nottingham Forest for Reading FCBy Jonny Fordham
May 16, 2012
Reading look to have won the race to sign Garath McCleary from Nottingham Forest on a free transfer.
Forest have admitted defeat in their battle to keep hold of the 24-year-old winger, who was named their player of the season.
As exclusively revealed on www.getreading.co.uk on Friday, McCleary has completed a medical at Royals and is now finalising terms on a three-year deal that will bring him to Madejski Stadium.
Oxford-born McCleary has turned down £10,000 a week to stay at the City Ground, more than double his current £4,000-a-week deal, in favour of a reported £15,000 a week salary at Reading.
And the former non-league star, who played for Slough Town and Oxford United – both former clubs of manager Brian McDermott – fits the mould of a Reading signing perfectly.
“The players we bring in will have hunger and work hard every day and in every game,” said McDermott who began working on bringing in players for next season even before the last campaign ended.
He said: “We’re after players to add to what we have. We won’t be bringing in anybody who can upset the apple cart. It’s not the way we do things.”
McDermott watched Reading centre-back Sean Morrison play on loan for Huddersfield Town as they beat MK Dons 2-0 in the semi-finals of the League One play-offs on Saturday.
Huddersfield’s star striker Jordan Rhodes is also a player McDermott is keeping close tabs on.
Rhodes notched his 39th goal in 44 appearances in front of the Reading boss.
Royals have also been linked with Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermaine Defoe, but the former England forward would command a large transfer fee plus £60,000 a week on wages.
Blackburn Rovers’ out-of-contract forward Junior Hoilett is also said to be on Royals’ radar, but is also being tracked by a number of top Premier League clubs.
McDermott is also keen to give as many current members of his squad the chance to shine in the top flight, just like Swansea and Norwich City bosses Brendan Rodgers and Paul Lambert did this season.
He said: “We want them to give the guys here every opportunity.”