Pogrebnyak deal shows Reading FC mean businessBy Jonny Fordham
July 02, 2012
Pavel Pogrebnyak's transfer to Reading has set tongues wagging.
The Russia striker has agreed terms on a four-year deal to join Royals' new guard under the ownership of his compatriot Anton Zingarevich.
Pledging to not rock the boat and throw endless cash at the team in search of survival, the 28-year-old's arrival on a free transfer can also be seen as something of a coup.
Martin Jol's Fulham were desperate to keep hold of the forward who netted six times in 12 games during his short-term switch from VfB Stuttgart in January.
The fact that Royals have won the tug-of-war battle with a stable Premier League outfit shows that manager Brian McDermott and his 30-year-old millionaire owner Zingarevich mean business.
Rivals Southampton moved first out of the three promoted Championship sides in the transfer market as they splashed the cash for Burnley's England under-21 striker Jay Rodriguez.
That had some loyal Royals worried as they saw the south coast side plump up £7million for the exciting talent.
Looking forward, Pogrebnyak, with top-flight, european and international experience, represents a much more economical outlay.
While Premier League expereince isn't essential – both McDermott and director of football Nick Hammond have stated that trait is not 'do or die' in their transfer policy – it does have its clear added benefits.
Royals already have their fair share of promising young talents thanks to their ever-producing Academy.
And as the addition of Jason Roberts showed in January, sometimes you just can't put a price on that kind of experience.
Mixed in with the likes of captain Jobi McAnuff amongst others, McDermott's squad, as they always have done at Reading, is starting to look competitive and balanced.
Another free transfer, Garath McCleary is an exciting prospect who has risen up through the ranks of non-league football to the top by the age of 25.
The Oxford-born flyer will have a point to prove and will become the first serious rival Jimmy Kebe has had at the club since Glenn Little left.
Off the pitch work has already begun at Madejski Satdium to improve the highest level of hospitality next to the directors' box in the West Stand.
With a capacity of just under 25,000 – Royals know they must cash in with the Premier League premium.
Full houses are to be expected at nearly all of Reading's home games this season, but with thousands of fans snapping up season tickets at last years prices, Royals won't expect to make huge ammounts of revenue from matchdays.
TV rites and sponsorship deals will boost the balance sheet the most as Zingarevich looks to change the business model of what was once a selling club to one looking to grow and attract a wider audience in Berkshire.