Reading’s McCarthy must be most chased relegated player in summer

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Arsenal apparently want Julio Cesar, Adel Taarabt is sure to be on the shortlist of clubs in France, Southampton have been linked with Adam Le Fondre and Hal Robson-Kanu may be the first Premier League signing of Cardiff.

At the end of every season, it is almost always the case that relegated clubs from the Premier League witness their best players depart as bids come in from others that remain in the top-flight or from overseas.

There are of course some exceptions to the rule. Michael Carrick stayed at West Ham for a season in the Championship and Andy Johnson remained at Crystal Palace despite scoring 21 Premier League goals in a single campaign.

Reading will be hoping that goalkeeper Alex McCarthy is just as loyal this summer as there are certainly grounds to argue that he should be the most hunted of all of those players relegated from the Premier League this season.

McCarthy’s stock grew immensely in the recent goalless draw with Liverpool as he made over a handful of stunning saves to frustrate Luis Suarez in particular, alongside Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge.

However, on closer inspection of his appearances, Reading’s loss record is far diminished when McCarthy is between the sticks.

They have lost only a third of their 12 games with McCarthy in goal, in comparison to close to 60 per cent without him and had an injured shoulder not required surgery midway through the campaign, it would have been interesting to see if Reading would have come any closer to avoiding the drop.

There are no obvious weaknesses in McCarthy’s game either, as his concentration is difficult to fault, he is adept at saving shots from close and long range and his reflexes look especially impressive.

The one thing in Reading’s favour is that the 23-year-old is one of their own academy products and this may make him more loyal to helping them return to the Premier League.

Reading teammate Jem Karacan may have gone slightly overboard in valuing McCarthy at £20m on the back of minimal first-team games, but half that amount may be needed to tempt Reading, who do not desperately require money.

Liverpool and Newcastle are two teams to be more heavily linked with McCarthy, but first-team football would surely come top of his wishlist. If Arsenal showed an interest and failed to land Cesar, this could be significant.

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

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.