DANZELL Gravenberch has fulfilled his dream of playing in England after signing a three-year deal with Reading FC.

The 22-year-old Dutch defender impressed boss Brian McDermott during a trial last month and becomes Royals' first signing of the summer.

Gravenberch flew back to the UK earlier this week and completed a medical ahead of penning his contract at Madejski Stadium.

The Amsterdam-born midfielder will move to Berkshire from Eerste Divisie side FC Dordrecht for an undisclosed fee.

Gravenberch was first spotted by Reading's new technical director, Brian Tevreden, and was highly rated in his home country.

He said: “I’m very happy and thankful to be at Reading, it is a very nice team.

“I got on well with the teammates here whilst I was training and they play some very good football, so I like it here.
“I’m looking forward to getting started and I’m focused now on the beginning of the season.

“I like England and I’ve always wanted to play football here. The league is very competitive so I am very happy to be here.

“I’ve seen a few Reading games and other teams in the Championship. It is a very tough league but I hope Reading can be competitive next season and I will make myself ready for it.”

Gravenberch is known for his defensive qualities and is comfortable at both centre-back and in a holding midfield role.

The ex-Ajax youth team player has been capped by Netherlands at every youth level from Under 16s to Under 19s.

The 6ft 1ins star made 28 league appearances for FC Dordrecht in the Dutch top-flight last season and he is eager to make a big impression in McDermott's side.

“The team is full of good players and good guys so I don’t have any problem getting along with them,” he added.

“It was a great start to my career coming through the academy at Ajax, and a great experience, I’ve moved on from that time now though and looking forward to getting started with Reading.

“I’m a centre-back and can also play in defensive midfield, and I will give everything for Reading.

“It is great to come here because Reading has a history of developing young players.

“Before I link up with the players I will be training by myself and will make sure I am good and ready for when we come back.”

McDermott believed Gravenberch could now develop into a crucial player for the Royals.

“I’m really pleased to have Danzell on board,” he said. “He was first brought to our attention by Brian Tevreden, our new Technical Director, who spoke highly of him having worked with him previously.

“We brought Danzell in for a few days last month, he trained and played with us - and he is a player capable of playing in various positions, with an awful lot of potential.

“I’m delighted to have secured his services so early in the summer.”

McDermott wants to waste little time in strengthening his squad for next season having seen six loan players return to their parent clubs.

Hal Robson-Kanu, Anton Ferdinand and Simon Cox were also released at the end of their contracts last month, with Robson-Kanu rejecting a new deal in order to find a new Premier League club.

Royals have been linked with a seven-figure bid for 19-year-old Liverpool winger, Sergi Canos, while the Reading Chronicle understands Real Valladolid midfielder, Juan Villar, also remains on McDermott's radar.

Walsall and Wales striker Tom Bradshaw, 23, Barnsley winger, Adam Hammill, 28, and Oxford United's attacking midfielder, Kemar Roofe, 23, are other potential targets.

However, Reading could face a battle to keep hold of £3 million-rated Northern Ireland international Oliver Norwood, with several top-flight clubs showing an interest.