Zingarevich reveals Premier League ambitions for Reading FC
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Anton Zingarevich, right, celebrates Reading's win on Tuesday evening.
NEW owner Anton Zingarevich has revealed his ambitious plans to make Reading FC a major force in the Premier League.
Mikele Leigertwood's 81st minute winner against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night coupled with West Ham's failure to beat Bristol City saw Royals return to the top flight after a four-year absence.
No sooner had the final whistle blown - sparking a full-scale pitch invasion - and Zingarevich was already looking to next season and beyond.
The 30-year-old Russian, whose takeover of the club is on the verge of being approved, wants to increase the capacity of Madejski Stadium to around 35,000, pump more investment into the Academy and upgrade the club's Hogwood Park training ground.
In his first interview since his Thames Sports Investment's takeover was announced in January, Zingarevich admitted: "I cannot wait to get to the Premier League, it's where you want to be as a football club owner. It is what attracted me to Reading in the first place. I think there is a lot to develop here but the infrastructure that is already in place is key.
"We have already started looking at upgrading the academy and the training facilities.
"Also, if we stay in the Premier League the first year we will aim to upgrade the stadium. There are a lot of things we can do, there is a lot of potential."
Before all that, Zingarevich is targeting a number of summer signings in a bid to improve Reading's chances of staying up next season.
Royals boss Brian McDermott has been linked with several players including Blackpool's Matt Phillips and Sunderland's Kieran Richardson.
He may also attempt to lure former player Gylfi Sigurdsson back to the club following his excellent loan spell with Swansea City from Hoffenheim.
Zingarevich confirmed: "We will be looking to bring in new players, it's the Premier League now. We've been scouting for the past two or three weeks and we already have a shortlist, so we will see what happens."
Zingarevich certainly looks to have struck a bargain as he is poised to acquire a 51% stake in the club for £25 million.
The deal is currently going through the Football League due diligence process but could be further delayed now that Reading are promoted, as the Premier League is also likely to get involved.
Nevertheless, Zingarevich stated: "The deal should be tied up soon. There are a couple of formalities to sort out but everything is on course and I think it is going to happen very soon."
And he added: "When I came to Reading in January, Brian McDermott joked about us going up like this. We knew we had a chance of being promoted as long as we could stay with the other teams. We made a couple of smart moves and we just kept on winning games."
Promotion is worth an estimated £100 million to the Royals, considerably more than the price chairman Sir John Madejski agreed to sell it for in January.
But Sir John insisted: "The club is more valuable now, but I've
struck a deal, and a deal is a deal.
"I've put a lot of money into this football club, which I'm quite happy about.
"And I hope the Zingarevich family will take Reading on to a different level and into Europe and beyond.
"It's all well getting to the Premier League but you need deep investment to stay there."
This article appeared in Reading Chronicle 19 Apr 12