We are delighted to confirm that Leandro Bacuna has finalised a transfer to Reading Football Club from Aston Villa, and joins Jaap Stam’s side on a four-year deal.
A versatile footballer, who can play either in defence or midfield, Bacuna will link up with the Royals for a first training session on Monday morning and will be eligible to face his former side when Villa visit in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday evening, subject to the usual ratification from the relevant governing bodies.
Royals manager Jaap Stam said: “Leandro is a player that we have been following for a while – he has played Premier League football and brings quality to us. He is the type of player who can play in several positions in the team – in midfield, at the back, or even sometimes as a winger. He is a player with the right mentality and who wants to go forward; these are the types of players that we want to have.”
Prior to joining the Midlands club, Bacuna spent four years playing Eredivisie football with hometown club FC Groningen in the north of the Netherlands after graduating from their academy in 2009.
He made over a century of appearances for the Dutch club during his time as a professional at Noordlease Stadion, and his impressive form earned him a move to the Premier League when Aston Villa won the race for his signature in the summer of 2013.
His first goal for the club came in his second league fixture at Villa Park, equalising against Manchester City and ultimately helping the Villans to a 3-2 victory against the then-reigning Premier League champions.
Bacuna would go on to net some more important goals during his 101(+30) appearances in all competitions for Villa, including a 4-3 derby victory against West Bromwich Albion and, most recently, in a 2-1 win against Burton Albion last Boxing Day.
In addition, he helped Villa to progress through the rounds in the 2014/15 FA Cup. Scoring in a win against Leicester in the fifth round, he played the full 90 in a 2-1 win against Liverpool at Wembley in the semi-final. Bacuna would feature in the FA Cup final against Arsenal from the bench, but by the time he was introduced the Gunners were well on course to a 4-0 victory.
On the international front, Bacuna played for the Netherlands at youth level, earning a total of 20 youth caps across his time spent with the Under-19s and Under-21s.
However he switched his allegiance to Curaçao last year when he was called up by the island nation, from where he traces his family heritage. And despite losing on his debut to Barbados in a Caribbean Cup qualifier, he would feature regularly throughout the qualifying process as they sealed a place in the finals tournament in Martinique.
And then in June, he and his Curaçaoan countrymen lifted the trophy as unlikely victors – he played the duration in a 2-1 victory against Jamaica in the final, giving the nation of 160,000 people an unprecedented sporting triumph to enjoy! Later in a busy summer, he was also involved in their CONCACAF Gold Cup, playing against Mexico, Jamaica and El Salvador in the group stage.
He was named in Steve Bruce’s starting XI against Hull City on Aston Villa’s first league fixture of the season, but now he will be available for selection against his former side in midweek.
Chief Executive Ron Gourlay said: “It gives us great pleasure to secure Leandro’s signature and to welcome him to his new home at Madejski Stadium. He is a player whose qualities we believe can improve the team and we have worked hard to bring him here, and now that the deal is over the line we are all looking forward to seeing Leandro in the blue and white hoops.”
Sporting Director Brian Tevreden added: “We are delighted to bring another quality addition into Jaap’s side. Leandro is a footballer who has already played a great deal of football at a high level, but we believe that he has the capacity to develop even further and improving with us at Reading – and hopefully to be part of a successful Royals team.”
Bacuna has been assigned the squad number 19 for the 2017/18 season.