Boss happy with January dealsRoyals boss Brian McDermott is very pleased with the business we did in the January transfer window, and confirmed we came close to completing a record deal to bring Gylfi Sigurdsson back to the club - a move that the boss described as Anton Zingarevich hoping to give a present to our fans.
Brian told Sky Sports News, "It was unfortunate, we were here until late and thought we were going to get a deal done. It's come out in the press conference that it was Gylfi Sigurdsson, we made three good offers and I have to thank the owner for his support on that, unfortunately we couldn't get it over the line. We thought we had a real chance but Gylf is a Tottenham player and a very good one at that.
"They didn't want to sell him, that's it. If a club wants to buy someone and the other club doesn't want to sell, fundamentally it came down to that. Like Gary Hooper at Celtic, they didn't want to sell him. We thought Tottenham had an interest at one point but not in the end."
To be in the mix for Sigurdsson shows the level of intent the club had in the window, and even though the deal had been ongoing for some time it was just not quite possible in the end. Brian said, "It's amazing to have a chance of getting someone like Gylfi and to be in that ball game gives us a lot of hope going forward. Not just for me but for our players, staff and fans.
"It would have been a great present for our fans and that's what Anton tried to do. Unfortunately we couldn't get it over the line, but this shows we can compete at another level. We can do our research with players from lower leagues and we've done it successfully, but also to compete for Gylfi was fantastic, it wasn't quite to be."
Asked if the deal could be revisited in the future, Brian said, "I can't think about that, it wouldn't be right for me to say any more about a Tottenham player, even though we've known Gylfi since he was 12 or 13, it's a bit different. Andre didn't want to lose him and he's got a great player there."
Watch Brian's press conference on Reading FC Player now.
Reflecting on our business overall, Brian said, "Daniel Carrico came in from Sporting Lisbon, he's working with us and getting up to speed and getting ready to be able to play. Hope Akpan people saw for 20 minutes on Tuesday and it never fazed him, he made two goals. His personality makes a difference. He's got a smile on his face all the time, he works hard to be as good as he can be. He's been at Everton and if you've been under David Moyes you've got a good pedigree.
"Stephen Kelly everyone knows is a top international who will get better and better. Nick Blackman trained with us for the first time on Thursday and looks a real prospect. They are everything that's good about our ethos.
"Any Reading player has to have a good personality, wants to learn, wants to get better, wants to be the best he can be every single day, has to work his socks every day in games and in training and be a group member. It's not about the ego of the individual, it's about the team and always has to be for us to compete. There's no compromise on that.
The Royals now face Sunderland this weekend, and Brian said with a smile, "You don't want to leave our games early! The other night was phenomenal, against the European Champions. I just thought about scoring a goal, nothing else because when you do that, anything can happen. The fans were incredible, and I watched the second goal back probably 40 times, a top drawer finish.
"Alfie is probably one of the most talked about strikers in the world at the moment. We live on our island but I'm sure they're talking about him in America, Australia, Argentina. Two years ago he was in League Two but scoring goals, he's always done that."
To book for the Sunderland game call 0844 249 1871, visit the Ticket Office in person or use www.readingfcdirect.co.uk. Advance prices are available until midday on the day of the game. Online and telephone sales also finish at midday on Saturday, after which tickets can be bought in person at Madejski Stadium at full matchday price.