Reading Football Club are delighted to announce that defender Chris Gunter has put pen to paper on a new three-year contract with the Royals.
The Welsh international’s existing contract was not set to expire until next summer, but transfer rumours linking Gunter to a move away from the Madejski have today been quashed as the club have been proactive in tying one of our longest-serving and most consistent first team players to a contract which will run until the summer of 2020.
Royals boss Jaap Stam said, “Chris has been a very important player for this club and was again last season, starting every single league game throughout the course of a long campaign. He has a lot of experience, both with his club and his country, he has great ability, mentally he’s strong and, importantly, you can always count on him! So I’m really pleased that the club have given him this new deal.”
Chris’ signature represents more sensational business for the football club. Manager Jaap Stam and his coaching staff penned new deals at the club yesterday and, having secured the services of three of the men who guided the team to the Play-Off Final from the touchlines, we have now signed up the man who skippered us to semi-final victory and led us out at Wembley.
The 27-year-old ex-Cardiff City, Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest defender is about to begin his sixth season as a Royal, having signed for the club back in 2012 – making his Royals debut against Stoke City on the opening day of our 2012-13 Premier League season.
And Chris has barely missed a minute in blue and white hoops since! Gunter’s extraordinary fitness statistics and consistent performance levels have seen him make more than 200 appearances in a Royals shirt – he reached his double ton in Reading colours when he captained Jaap Stam’s side to a clean sheet at home to Barnsley back in February.
Last season, Chris started in every one of our 46 Championship matches as well as every minute of the three play-off matches! In fact, the full-back was absent for just eight minutes of action across the course of our Championship campaign in 2016-17.
Gunter made his 400th career appearance in club football when he captained us against QPR in January and his 400th start in club competition came against Fulham in the second leg of our Play-Off Semi-Final in May. And he even got on the scoresheet last season…notching against his former Nottingham Forest employers in a 2-0 Madejski Stadium win in October.
Internationally, helping Chris Coleman’s Wales to a vital draw in Serbia last month saw Gunter tot up his 54th consecutive appearance for his country - a run which stretches back nearly seven years in total!
And he continues to add to his 79 Welsh caps - which is a total just 13 fewer than Neville Southall who tops Wales’ all-time appearances table.
Now he has three more years as a Royal in his sights.
Chief Executive Nigel Howe said, “Chris is a phenomenon when it comes to his endurance levels and the minutes he has managed to play at such a high level of professional football with both club and country. An exemplary ambassador for the club - both on and off the pitch - Chris has proven a valuable cog in our first team make up for more than five years now and I am pleased he has committed to three more years at the Madejski.”