Ron Gourlay hints at big summer spending at Reading FC

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Ron Gourlay says Paul Clement will be given money to spend this summer

RON GOURLAY says Paul Clement will be given funds to strengthen the Reading squad this summer.

Clement replaced Jaap Stam with eight games to go, tasked with saving the Royals from relegation to League One, a feat he achieved on the final day of the season.

But focus quickly turns to the transfer window with recruitment needed to avoid a similarly disappointing campaign in 2018/19.

Clement kept Reading in the Championship

And chief executive Gourlay says Chinese owners Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li are prepared to put their hands in their pockets again to bolster the squad, having already sanctioned deals for the likes of Sone Aluko, Vito Mannone, Leandro Bacuna and Dave Edwards last summer.

“The money is available to strengthen the team,” said Gourlay.

“Recruitment and targeting players doesn’t just happen on the weeks running up to the window, this is a 365-day process.

“We’re constantly identifying potential players that could strengthen our squad.

“I’ve had meetings with the owners and meetings with Paul and we know who our targets are.”

And when asked if Reading can afford to spend £10 million plus on one player, as many of the top clubs in the Championship have done in recent years, Gourlay said: “If the right player comes along and is available and can strengthen the team, then of course we will look to bring them in.

“I think we all know what we’ve got to put right.

Sone Aluko arrived last summer on a big money move from Fulham

“We do know where we were lacking and sometimes these players don’t come cheap.

“If the right player came along at the price we could afford, we would be prepared.”

READ: Gourlay backs Chinese owners’ low-key approach

Having reached the play-off final in 2017, last season’s struggles came as a surprise to most as Stam failed to repeat the success of his debut year.

And Gourlay acknowledges that the players recruited last year were not all successful.

“They’ve been mixed, if I’m honest with you,” he said.

“There’s always a settling into the team and the style of play. I don’t want to talk about individuals but I said that we didn’t reach the level of quality on performance across the piece.

“It’s not about one player, it’s not about two players it’s about a team. Against the competition that we have now in this league, you have to play as a team, you have to be united, you have to go out there and perform to the highest of your ability week in, week out.

“Otherwise you won’t win football games. I’m afraid for a number of different reasons, we didn’t do that.”

But one man Gourlay does not regret signing for another year is Yann Kermorgant after he reversed his decision to retire and penned a new contract, despite missing a large chunk of the season through injury.

Yann Kermorgant scored just twice last season

As such, the 36-year-old only contributed two goals, having netted a career best 19 in the run to the play-off final the previous campaign.

“Yann was a key player,” said Gourlay.

“We as a management team felt he could be a key player again with a lot of new players coming into the club who had to understand the club, but Yann had different talents as well.

“He was very, very strong in the dressing room, motivational. That was something that we felt would be useful.

“We also felt that he would be back earlier than what he was because he had a setback that sent him back about a month as well.

“That’s certainly the point on Yann, I think he had a lot more to offer the club. But he also performed incredibly well the year before.”

INTERVIEW: See part one of our chat with Ron Gourlay as he tries to dissect what went wrong last season

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