McDermott: Anton key in Reading FC signing Pogrebnyak
Published: 28 Jun 2012 09:303 comments
READING FC manager Brian McDermott is hailing Anton Zingarevich for brokering the deal to sign fellow Russian Pavel Pogrebnyak.
Fulham were clear favourites to sign the 28-year-old free agent, who scored six goals in 12 starts on loan at Craven Cottage last season.
But Royals launched their own charm offensive and pulled off a major coup by landing the ex-Stuttgart striker on a four-year deal worth a club record £30,000 per week.
And McDermott acknowledges it would not have been possible without intervention of new Royals owner Zingarevich, who met Pogrebnyak in person a couple of weeks ago.
Speaking exclusively to the Chronicle, McDermott revealed: "Without Anton's influence on this one I don't know if it would have happened.
"Anton spoke to the player and did a great job. I don't know what he said but it must have worked because the player is committed.
"We owe Anton for that and I'm sure all his efforts will be worthwhile."
Powerful 6ft 2in forward Pogrebnyak impressed with Fulham last season and Cottagers boss Martin Jol was desperate to sign him permanently, but Zingarevich persuaded the Russian international that a move to Berkshire was in his best interests.
The ploy worked and the deal should be finalised when the ex-Zenit St. Petersburg forward is expected to gain a work permit.
"We've got a meeting about his work permit next week but we don't anticipate there being too many problems," explained McDermott. "All we've got to do is dot the i's and cross the t's. Pavel has committed to us and we're committed to him."
Pogrebnyak was only briefly used by Russia during their disappointing Euro 2012 campaign, but his international record is outstanding with 16 goals in 32 games for his country.
But it is the striker's hard-working nature that first attracted McDermott who admits he has been a keen admirer for some time.
"Pavel is exactly the kind of player that we need," he insisted. "I know him really well as a player and have been watching him closely for some time.
"I believe he is a 'Reading' player in that he works very hard for the team. He's a team player and he can also score goals.
"On top of that he's a really nice lad and I know he will fit in well with the squad we have."
Reading are able to offer Pogrebnyak club-record wages as he was a free transfer, having left Stuttgart this summer.
However, it seems Royals may have to shell out a substantial transfer fee if they are to land Jordan Rhodes from Huddersfield Town.
The 22-year-old cracked 40 goals in 46 games in all competitions for the Terriers last season and is being chased by a string of clubs.
But Reading are believed to be leading the chase as they plan to use centre-back Sean Morrison as a makeweight in the deal.
The Chronicle understands Royals are considering an offer of around £3 million plus Morrison for the Scotland international.
But the Terriers are in no rush to sell after securing promotion to the Championship through the play-offs last season when Morrison was on loan at Galpharm Stadium.
Royals may also have to increase their offer for Adrian Mariappa, with reports suggesting McDermott has already failed with a £2 million bid.
Other rumours suggest Reading recently failed with an identical swoop for Nottingham Forest's Chris Gunter.
And McDermott expects there to be an increase in transfer activity in the weeks to follow.
"We're working on a few other things and we're hoping to tie those up soon," he stated.
"It's tough to say any more at this stage because we don't discuss specific players who aren't ours."