LIAM MOORE looks set to be handed a new and improved contract at Reading, just three weeks after submitting a transfer request to leave the club.
The Royals centre-back, who was named as the fans’ player of the season in 2017/18, has missed both of the opening two league games of this campaign after trying to force through a move away from Berkshire.
Brighton and Hove Albion were interested in signing the 25-year-old, who was keen to make the switch to the Premier League in a deal reportedly worth around £10 million.
But Reading held firm and despite Moore officially handing in a transfer request, last week’s deadline day passed with the defender still a part of Paul Clement’s squad.
And the former Leicester City man, who signed a new contract last summer which runs up until 2021, insists he is happy to be with the Royals and hinted he could be set to extend his stay after a conversation with Chinese owners Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li.
“I am absolutely, fully focussed,” said Moore, who returned to the Reading line-up as captain in Tuesday night’s 2-0 Carabao Cup victory over Birmingham City.
“I think my future will be tied up quite soon here, without saying too much.
“I’m completely focussed and I want to do good by this club.
“There was no disrespect (when handing in a transfer request). It was an opportunity that arose.
“Mr and Ms Dai were very out and very open about what they wanted and where they want to take the club.
“I’m a person who likes to get a real feel for what people really want, look them in the eyes.
“I came away from the meeting with them quite confident and quite comfortable with what direction the club is going in.
“I’m just ready to crack on now and perform to my best.”
The Wokingham Paper understands that while a new deal has not yet been finalised for the defender who joined the club in 2016, and that no announcement is imminent, talks are well underway to tie one of their star assets down to an improved deal.
Moore said in a statement via social media on transfer deadline day that Dai Yongge informed him that “he wouldn’t let me leave the club for any price”.
When asked on Tuesday night if a new contract was in the pipeline, Moore added: “that’s not for me to say.
“In football, it’s like everyday life. You give your all and then ultimately there’s promotions, rewards, whatever it may be.
“I feel like I’ve given my all for the club and I’ll continue to do that.
“Whatever comes along, I’ll continue to do the same.”
Away from discussions off the pitch, Moore’s first challenge is to force his way back into the starting line-up for Saturday’s league clash against Bolton Wanderers at Madejski Stadium (3pm).
Tiago Ilori and Paul McShane have impressed in the two games so far and Moore knows he has a tough task to get his spot back, despite playing all 46 Championship fixtures last season.
“We’ve got the unbelievable experience of John O’Shea,” he explained.
“And then Tiago has been different class in the last couple of games – I think he’s really hitting form.
“And then you’ve got the club captain Macca (McShane) as well. It’s competition but it brings out the best in people.
“I’ve been working very hard in the off-season, pre-season and I believe I’ll step my game up another step this year.”
Reading have an increasing injury list ahead of Saturday’s clash with the Trotters.
Wingers Mo Barrow (groin) and Yakou Meite (ribs) were both forced off during the win over Birmingham and are doubtful for the weekend, while Sone Aluko (adductor) remains sidelined.