LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes insists summer move never close, despite reported Reading interest

Madejski Reading

The Royals were reportedly among a number of European clubs after the 24-year-old US international.

LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes has told MLSsoccer.com that he never truly came close to leaving the club in the summer, despite rumours linking him with a move to Reading.

The likes of MLSsoccer.com reported in August that the Championship club were among a number of European sides looking into signing the US international before the summer transfer window closed, with Belgian outfit Genk named as another potential suitor [h/t HLN].

However, speaking ahead of the USA’s opening World Cup qualifier against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday in St. Louis, Missouri, the 24-year-old forward insisted that he never considered offers to move elsewhere.

“I don't think I ever was leaving, you know?” said Zardes when asked about the reported summer interest in his signature. “I really don't recall looking at any offers, because that was a tough period [during the summer months]. Because that was the Gold Cup.”

In addition, the 17-times capped attacker also stressed that he has not thought about a move overseas during the MLS offseason, adding: “There’re so many rumours out there. There’re so many other people out there [saying], 'Hey, this team is interested in you,' and I'm just, like, that's not my focus.

“I'm an LA Galaxy player and this is my primary focus and this is my job, this is my team, these are my coaches, and today – right now, this moment – is the only moment that matters.”

Zardes originally joined the Galaxy as a Homegrown player in December 2012 but netted just four times in 27 games during his rookie season after spending most of his time on the wing.

However, the California native experienced a breakout 2014 campaign after moving into a more comfortable role up top alongside club captain Robbie Keane, as he finished the regular season as the league’s highest-scoring American with 16 goals in 32 appearances.

Going on to help Bruce Arena’s men claim their third MLS Cup title in four seasons with the opening goal in the 2-1 final win over the New England Revolution, the former Cal State Bakersfield product has since established himself as a regular starter for the USA, although he has had to settle for a spot on the flanks rather than up front.

His production in MLS also declined in 2015 after Giovani dos Santos’ mid-season arrival saw him moved back to the wing, but despite hitting just six goals in 27 games, the 6ft 2in speedster believes he ultimately become a much more rounded player for it.

"I really tried to stay engaged and listen to what my teammates, the veteran guys, have to say about defending. And also the coaches. They've helped me a ton,” added Zardes. “When they put me out there [on the flank], they knew attacking wasn't going to be a problem, but the defensive aspect, they spent time with me, and I really appreciate all the help they've given me.”

Rumours surrounding Zardes’ future are sure to resurface during the winter, but whether a bid from alleged suitors Reading will emerge remains to be seen.

The Royals already have US international teammate Danny Williams on their books, while Colorado Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers joined the club on trial last weekend, but their compatriot is in no big rush to make the move to Europe himself.

“I still have two more years here on my contract,” said Zardes. “But I'm just going to take it day by day and work extremely hard, because I don't know what tomorrow holds.”

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