Reading FC complete double swoop
By Anthony Smith • Published 18 Jul 2012 10:34 0 Comments
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New Reading FC full-back Chris Gunter
READING'S summer recruitment drive continued this week with the capture of Nottingham Forest's Chris Gunter and Watford's Adrian Mariappa.
Royals paid around £2.3 million for Wales international Gunter who signed a three-year deal with the option of a further year.
His signing was confirmed on Tuesday only hours after Royals announced the transfer of Adrian Mariappa from Watford for around £2.5 million.
Both players arrived just in time to join Brian McDermott's squad which left for Portugal on a 10-day tour yesterday (Wednesday).
Gunter, 22, had spells with Cardiff City and Tottenham Hotspur before switching to Nottingham Forest where he was a team-mate of another Royals summer recruit, Garath McCleary.
McDermott beamed: "I'm absolutely delighted that Chris has signed. He was very, very keen to come to us and is another player who is young and very hungry.
"He's already played more than 200 games at club level, plus another 37 for his country, which is phenomenal for someone so young.
"Chris already knows our club well, he is very close to Garath McCleary, knows our Welsh players and I also know he met many of our squad over the summer too.
"With all the players we have brought in this summer they will improve and get better, and the most important thing is their hunger and desire.
"With all the business we've done this summer we think we've improved the quality in the squad considerably."
Gunter becomes Reading's seventh recent signing after McCleary, Danny Guthrie, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Nicky Shorey, Pierce Sweeney and Mariappa.
And McDermott admitted he has been tracking Mariappa all summer after the 25-year-old defender finally signed a three-year deal at Madejski Stadium.
While Mariappa can play anywhere in defence, it is thought he will mostly be used at centre-back where he will face competition from last season's promotion-winning duo, Kaspars Gorkss and Player of the Year, Alex Pearce.
McDermott said: "I'm delighted to get the deal to sign Aidy over the line, we have been chasing him all summer.
"He's been a very important player for Watford over a number of years, he is well known to most of our players already and also the staff here.
"Every single person I have spoken to about him has nothing but good things to say about him both as a player and as a person."
Jamaica international Mariappa has spent all his career at Watford, with more than 250 games under his belt.
He emerged through the Hornets' youth ranks where current Reading coaches Nigel Gibbs, Chris Cummins and David Dodds previously worked.
Mariappa said: "It's a great feeling to have signed. The Premier League is the best in the world, I'm delighted to have the opportunity to come here, try to work my way into the team and perform for Reading Football Club."
Ex-Manchester City and Arsenal keeper Stuart Taylor has also been training with Royals and may be offered a contract.
Meanwhile, Royals full-back Joseph Mills has signed a year-long loan deal at Burnley after passing a medical at Turf Moor.
While in Portugal, Royals are based in Silves in the Algarve with friendlies lined up against Quarteirense (July 21), Sheffield Wednesday (July 24) and Olhanense (July 27).
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