Express & Star

West Brom target Reading winger Garath McCleary

Last updated

Albion are tracking Reading winger Garath McCleary as they weigh up possible signings for the new Premier League season.


The Baggies, who tried to sign the Jamaica international from Nottingham Forest in 2012, have again added him to their transfer watchlist at the start of the Alan Irvine era.

Hawthorns officials have yet to open talks with Reading over the 27-year-old, who has a year remaining on his contract and appears likely to move on this summer.

But they have earmarked the Oxford-born player as a potential new recruit as they target new widemen following the departures of Scott Sinclair, Morgan Amalfitano and Zoltan Gera from last season's squad.

[polldaddy poll=8158886]

Albion were keen on McCleary two years ago after an impressive spell for Forest but he instead opted to join the Royals, who were also a top-flight club at the time.

He has since made 80 appearances for the Berkshire club and scored nine goals, but with his contract due to expire next summer Reading look set to cash in and could provide the Baggies with a relatively cheap option out wide.

McCleary, who broke into the Jamaica ranks in 2013, rose from non-league football, where he played for Oxford City, Slough Town and Bromley, to win a contract with Forest following a successful trial in 2008.

Albion are also tracking Ipswich left-back Aaron Cresswell and have been offered some encouragement by Portman Road boss Mick McCarthy, who has admitted he would not stand in the defender's way if a Premier League club met the Tractor Boys' valuation.

"He was getting the plaudits last season for being the best left-back in the Championship and at some stage, if someone comes in and the deal is right, then it becomes an irresistible force," said McCarthy.

"He is under contract, but that becomes a negative as the player sees there has been a bid for him that everyone else seems to think is fair.

"He may feel he's done his time and want to move to better himself, if that's the case, it's hard to stop.

"If he does go I will shake his hand, thank him for his efforts and crack on and bring someone else in, that's how it works. It would have to be the right bid though."