On July 29, 2017 I found myself quizzing Jaap Stam after Reading FC’s 4-2 pre-season defeat against Vitesse Arnhem at Wycombe Wanderers’ Adams Park.

One questions I posed to the former Royals boss focussed on his interest in Nelson Oliveira.

Having received plenty of stick from keyboard warriors on social media for ‘making up rubbish as usual’, naturally I was delighted when Stam confirmed his desire to bring the Portuguese forward to the club.

Stam’s confirmation raised excitement levels. We were eager to see the Carabao cans roll out – but it was not to be that summer and Royals eventually splashed the cash on Fulham’s Sone Aluko.

Fans and media alike were baffled by the decision to spend so much money on a midfielder when there was an ever-ageing strikeforce led by Yann Kermorgant.

Stam also bought in Jon Dadi Bodvarsson from Wolves, but there remained a concern that Reading were still lacking firepower. Those concerns were justified too as Bodvarsson’s first season was far from prolific, while Kermorgant’s time at Madejski Stadium was all but finished.

Reading Chronicle:

Jaap Stam was first linked with Nelson Oliveira back in July 2017.

Reading reacted by bringing in Chris Martin on loan from Derby in January 2018, but the less said about that the better, then Stam lost his job and Paul Clement came in.

The football was hardly pretty, but the former Chelsea FC assistant kept Royals in the Championship after their relegation battle went down to the final game.

Clement stated his desire to sign a forward that summer amid ludicrous suggestions from ex-CEO Ron Gourlay that the club was in a position to spend £10m on one.

Clement had worked with Oliveira at Swansea while the Portuguese striker was on loan from Benfica.

This fuelled rumours that Clement would finally bring the classy forward to Madejski Stadium – only to bring in Sam Baldock for £3.5m and Marc McNulty for £1.5m. It kind of backfired, as Baldock struggled to make an impact and is currently out injured, while McNulty was farmed out to Hibs on loan last month.

Bodvarsson made a promising start to this season before suffering an unfortunate injury at the worst possible time. Then Yakou Meite also got off to a brilliant start before an injury set-back, leaving Royals light up front again.

Reading’s lack of goals saw them sucked into a relegation battle, Clement lose his job in December and Jose Gomes appointed.

He immediately set about trimming the squad, adding more quality with loan signings and actively pursued his fellow countryman, Oliveira.

I remember exactly where I was when I received a text, from a name I cannot disclose, suggesting that Reading had made an approach for Oliveira on a loan deal with a view to a permanent move.

To be honest, after around 18 months of speculation, I was kind of bored of the whole thing and decided to return to my pint of beer.

Reading Chronicle:

Nelson Oliveira fires home a superb winner against Blackburn Rovers.

Within minutes, I received another message from a different source confirming the same rumour. I trusted the information but, like most Reading FC fans, I didn’t want to get my hopes up based on another spurious rumour.

Nevertheless, the Reading Chronicle ran with the story that Oliveira was on the verge of a move to Madejski Stadium.

Eventually, on January 22 – precisely 542 days after first chancing my arm by asking Stam about Oliveira – the Carabao cans came rolling out.

That, though, was just the beginning of the drama as Oliveira’s home debut finished on the operating table at Royal Berkshire Hospital with horrific facial injuries following the now infamous clash with Tyrone Mings.

The overwhelming show of support he received from the Reading faithful was proof of how determined fans were for him to be a success.

And boy did he repay them.

Sure, Oliveira could have netted a tap-in for his first goal in blue and white hoops, but the 27-year-old had something better lined up.

With Royals in the relegation zone and fighting for their lives, having been pegged back by Blackburn Rovers in the 82nd minute on Wednesday, the striker showed a touch of quality that Zinedine Zidane would have been proud of before a finishing with aplomb to seal a 2-1 victory and blast Reading out of the bottom three.

And that goal - possibly a defining moment in the club’s modern history - was nearly two years in the making.