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Reading defender and Leeds United target Alex Pearce to join Derby County this week

The Republic of Ireland international is a free transfer as his contract expires at the Madejski Stadium this month.

Leeds United were linked with a swoop for Reading FC defender Alex Pearce last month by The Sun. The Republic of Ireland international is out of contract this summer and the report claimed Leeds were keen on taking both him and Northern Irishman Chris Baird of West Brom to Elland Road.

However that was when former Reading man Steve Head was set to take over as head of recruitment at Leeds and now he is all set to join a Championship rival.

Local source getreading have reported that Pearce will finalise a move to Derby County by the end of the week and sources for HITC Sport have also reported that a deal is imminent.

Reading have clearly not given Pearce the deal he would like and therefore he has decided his best option is to join up with Paul Clement at Derby.

Pearce, from Wallingford near Reading, would not have made this decision easily. However the Republic of Ireland international is surely hoping Derby County have a better chance of promotion next season than Reading - who have already lost goalkeeper Adam Federici in similar circumstances to Bournemouth.

Pearce, who was not keen on a move to troubled club Leeds, is currently away on international duty with the Republic of Ireland - but this is not believed to be a preventative factor in the deal going ahead as soon as possible.

He played nearly 250 games for The Royals after becoming a professional in 2006.

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