Romanian international joins Reading ranks until 2020!Reading Football Club are pleased to announce that Romanian international forward Adrian Popa has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with the Royals, joining Jaap Stam’s Madejski Stadium ranks from Steaua Bucharest for an undisclosed fee.
The 28-year-old winger has played his whole career in his homeland, earning promotion to the top tier with both FC Universitatea Cluj and CS Concordia Chiajna before signing a five-year deal with Steaua in 2012.
The Bucharest-born wide man went on to make more than 200 appearances for the club, winning four domestic cup competitions and three consecutive top flight titles whilst also playing Europa League and Champions League football in the capital as well as representing his country at Euro 2016 last summer!
Popa, who made his international bow in 2014 but already has 21 caps to his name, now arrives in Reading to bolster the options available to manager Jaap Stam as we enter the final three and a half months of our Championship campaign.
“Adrian is a forward with enormous potential who has played at a high level in Romania as well as in European and international football,” Stam said.
“He is an experienced player, who is quick, a constant threat to the opposition, good on the ball and who is comfortable playing on the left, on the right or even up front in a two.
“With the amount of games we have coming up, a player of his quality will make it easier for us to rotate a little more and give some players a rest if we need to, so I’m delighted to have him here as part of our squad.”
Popa scored his last goal for Steaua Bucharest just before Christmas, bagging the only goal in a Liga I encounter against Poli Timisoara – his first professional club - at the Arena Nationala to cement their second place standing in the division going into the winter break.
Earlier that same month he played a part in Steaua’s Europa League defeat at Villarreal and he has also featured against Manchester City in the Champions League this season, though Bucharest were beaten by Fabian Delph’s goal at the Etihad back in August.
He also took on Chelsea in the last sixteen of the Europa League back in 2013, starting in a 1-0 home win over Rafa Benitez’s men before featuring in a 3-1 second leg defeat at Stamford Bridge nearly four years ago.
Popa is a regular Romanian international, featuring against Poland, Kazakhstan and scoring against both Armenia and Montenegro in the current World Cup qualifying campaign. Most recently, the winger pulled on his national colours for a friendly against 2018 hosts Russia in November.
And Popa was part of the Romania squad out in France for Euro 2016, taking part in all three of his country’s group games, in front of 75,000 against France themselves at the Stade de France, Switzerland at the Parc des Princes and Albania in Lyon.
Chief Executive Nigel Howe added, “We are very pleased to be able to welcome Adrian to Reading on a deal which will keep him at the club until the summer of 2020. He is an exciting addition to our squad who brings with him a wealth of experience of top flight, European and international football.”
The move is subject to the normal ratification processes from the relevant football authorities and international clearance, but Popa - who will take squad number 25 - could theoretically be eligible to make his debut at Birmingham City on Tuesday night. In the process, the winger would become the first Romanian player to represent the Royals.