Wolves look set to win the race to sign Reading’s highly-rated England Under-20 international Danny Loader.
The 18-year-old striker is into the last year of his contract and has refused to sign a new deal. Wolves have had several offers turned down for the teenager, who has made 24 appearances for the Royals, scoring once. There are no indications yet what the fee is, but if the deal goes through, the youngster is expected to go into the Under-23s with 20-year-old midfielder Meritan Shabani, who is on his way from Bayern Munich today.
Juventus, Arsenal, Chelsea, Lille and several Bundesliga sides were linked to Loader earlier this summer, but Wolves , who have a long-standing interest in him, have stolen a march on their rivals.
Loader, who has represented England at every age group from Under-16s upwards, is a former Three Lions team-mate of Wolves midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White. They were in the squad that won the 2017 Under-17s World Cup, though Loader didn’t feature in the final.
Making his debut in August 2017 in an extra-time Caraboa Cup win over Millwall, Loader was six days short of his 17th birthday, and he has since become Reading’s youngest player to make 20 senior appearances. He appeared 22 times in the Championship last season, starting nine times.
Reading boss Jose Gomes has admitted the club’s younger players, including Loader, may find game time limited this season due to the influx of new signings this summer. He said: “I’m helping Danny to be better every day. The club must be patient with young players because one day they can do fantastic things and then you expect them to repeat it. But one week later they look a completely different player and can’t do anything.
“When we received more experienced players to play in their position, it’s not we gave up on them but we must look at getting results. He will go on with us but we cannot hide it’s a more difficult situation for the young players. And it wasn’t realistic working with 15 Under-23 players in pre-season.
“Now with these changes we have four or five youth players (with the first-team squad) which is better.”
Former Wolves forward Jon Dadi Bodvarsson is one of several players Reading have let go this summer – to Millwall – with Liam Kelly sold too, while they have allowed Marc McNulty and Sam Smith to leave on loan.