Pogrebnyak set to join Reading FC

Published: 21 Jun 2012 09:300 comments

READING FC look to have beaten a string of Premier League clubs to the signing of Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak.

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Fulham, Aston Villa and West Ham were all interested in securing the services of the highly-rated hitman.

But the 28-year-old is thought to have passed a medical at the Madejski and now looks set to sign today (Thursday), subject to gaining a work permit.

Contrary to reports earlier in the week, though, it is believed Reading will not smash their wage structure by paying the forward £65,000 a week.

They will instead look to offer the Russian international, who is a free agent after his deal at German side VFB Stuttgart expired, a four-year deal in the region of £30,000.

That would make him the highest paid player in Reading's history and usher in the new era under Russian owner Anton Zingarevich.

Pogrebnyak has just returned from Euro 2012 where he only played the final 18 minutes of Russia's disappointing campaign.

And his representative Oleg Artemov confirmed that the striker is a wanted man, saying: "We're not just holding talks with Reading. There are other English clubs too."

Royals look to be leading the race for his signature though, with manager Brian McDermott working overtime to bolster his squad for their return to the Premier League.

"We got Garath McCleary from Forest and are down the road a wee bit as far as other signings we might make," he said.

"As soon as the names come out we'll let fans know. We'll wait and see but a lot is done in July. Nick (Hammond, director of football) is working hard on that and speaking to Anton regularly."

Pogrebnyak hit the headlines last season while on loan from Stuttgart at Fulham, where he netted six goals in 12 matches.

Although he planned to stay on at Craven Cottage, he was unable to agree a deal, with manager Martin Jol repeatedly unwillingly to match his wage demands.

And he now looks set for a move to the Madejski, where he could be joined by experienced Hull City midfielder Robert Koren.

Voted Tigers' Player of the Year last season, Koren has been a long-term target of McDermott's and the player's agent, Zoran Krneta, admitted he is aware of the interest from the Premier League new boys.

"There has been a long-term admiration by Brian McDermott for Robert. He tried six years ago to buy Robert, but he joined West Brom.

"Obviously, if there was an offer from Reading then that would be something Robert would think over seriously," he commented.

"But Hull have just appointed a new manager and I am sure Robert will want to come back from his holiday and see what happens."

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