Championship promotion hopefuls Reading are reportedly on the verge of securing a deal for former Real Madrid left-winger Royston Drenthe.
Dutchman Drenthe, who spent last season with Alania Vladikavkaz, is available on a free transfer following the Russian club's relegation and strong speculation continues to circulate over a potential move to the Madejski Stadium.
Drenthe's own agent, Fabian Veldwijk, has added weight to that aforementioned speculation. He told getreading: "He is going to sign the contract and hopefully it will be finished by tonight.
"We have a pretty good feeling that everything will be taken care of. He (Drenthe) is really excited about it."
26-year-old Rotterdam native Drenthe began his professional career with Feyenoord before moving to the Spanish capital in 2007 following a succession of hugely impressive performances during the Netherlands' victorious European Under-21 Championship campaign.
Despite netting on his Madrid debut, Drenthe never managed to fully establish himself as a regular at the Bernabeu and spent the 2010/11 campaign on loan at Hercules. He was again deemed surplus to requirements the following season, this time joining David Moyes' Everton on another season-long loan deal. He went on to join Alania after his Madrid contract expired last summer, but was unable to prevent the team's relegation from Russia's top-flight.
If Drenthe were indeed to join Reading, it would be manager Nigel Adkins' second summer signing following the arrival of left-back Wayne Bridge. Such deals would appear to demonstrate a significant show of ambition from owner Anton Zingarevich, particularly after both he and the club were criticised after a surprising lack of investment in playing personnel last summer gave the club little realistic chance of avoiding relegation from the Premier League.
This move could also represent a potentially stark change in the club's recruitment policy. Former boss Brian McDermott used to speak frequently about the club's established ethos of only signing players with the appropriate work ethic and correct attitude. Drenthe, although widely regarded as an exciting talent on the field, doesn't appear to quite fit that ethos, as his extremely questionable temperament has often led to controversial disagreements with managers and club officials throughout his career.
Following his loan spell on Merseyside, however, Drenthe insisted that, in hindsight, spending time under the tutelage of Moyes forced him to acknowledge the error of his ways.
If this deal does materialise, and if Drenthe really has worked hard to remedy his apparent attitude problem, then the Royals could have a player in their ranks whose sheer talent potentially exceeds that of any other player in the division . But with the club already well-stocked in the wide areas, his arrival could signal the departure of either captain Jobi McAnuff, who has been linked with a move to QPR, or Hal Robson-Kanu, who is believed to be attracting attention from Cardiff City.
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