The Wokingham Paper

Sone Aluko on joining Reading FC, being record signing and World Cup dream

Sone Aluko signs
Sone Aluko arrived at Reading in a big money summer move

SONE ALUKO insists he feels no extra pressure at being Reading’s new club-record signing.

Aluko arrived from Fulham in the final week of the transfer window for a reported fee of £7.5 million, although Jaap Stam says that figure has been inflated.

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Either way, he eclipses the previous record signing of Tiago Ilori in January and is in line for his debut on Saturday at home to Bristol City.

And Aluko says the thought had not even crossed his mind.

Tiago Ilori arrived from Liverpool in January

“Until now, I didn’t know I was the record signing,” said the striker when asked if there was any added expectation.

“Whether you’re record signing or when I joined Fulham as a free transfer, there’s still pressure.

“It makes no difference to me.

“If you need that added pressure as a player then you’re going to struggle anyway.

“Every time I go on the pitch, I’m going to give my all whether the club paid loads or nothing.

“For me, the faith the club showed to bring me here is what I want to repay.

“That’s the most important thing. The fee is just a market value.

“When I joined Fulham, because I joined for a free didn’t mean they wanted me any less.”

Aluko enjoyed a fine season at Craven Cottage, notching nine goals to help Fulham reach the play-offs, where they lost to Reading.

And the 28-year-old admits it was a difficult decision to leave.

“It wasn’t an easy decision at all,” said the forward.

“It’s the toughest decision I’ve made in my career because I had a very good year at Fulham, played 50 games, we got to the play-offs.

Aluko says Jaap Stam played a key role in his arrival from Fulham

“So to leave that was a big step, but after the clubs agreed a fee and I came down here and spoke to the manager and spoke to him on the phone a few times, it was too good an opportunity for me to turn down.

“I think the main factor was Jaap Stam.

“After speaking to him about his plans for the season, how he wants me to play and how he wants me to fit into the team and the club’s plans with the new owners, they are an ambitious club that want to go back to the Premier League, I couldn’t really turn that down.”

Born in Hounslow, Aluko is a Nigeria international, but has not played for his country since 2014.

Nigeria look set to qualify for next year’s World Cup however, with the likes of Premier League stars Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi and Victor Moses in the squad, Aluko admits it will be tough to add to his nine caps.

“My last cap was when I was at Hull in an African Nations qualifier against South Africa,” Aluko recalled.

“We drew 2-2 and I scored two goals so my last cap was a good cap!

“It will be hard to break into that team because the manager has clearly got a quite settled side that has been doing well.

“It’s something I’m not ruling out.

“My club form has been good for the last year. If I can continue that then maybe I’ll push my way in.

“In a World Cup year, that’s every player’s dream but right now my focus is on my club form and if that pushes me into the international team then so be it.”

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