LA Galaxy expect Reading-linked Gyasi Zardes back for 2016

Madejski Reading

The 24-year-old US international has recently been named as a potential January target for the Royals.

While LA Galaxy striker Gyasi Zardes has been strongly linked with a January move to Reading in recent weeks, head coach Bruce Arena’s recent comments to the MLS club’s official website suggest that he will be spending at least another half-season in the USA.

Zardes, 24, has been a reported target for Reading since the summer and Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl claimed last month that an unnamed Championship side had lodged a $3 million [£1.97 million] bid for his signature ahead of the winter transfer window.

Former Royals manager Steve Clarke later admitted that the Galaxy forward was a potential target for the club, telling Get Reading: “Zardes has been on a few clubs' radar for a little while. He’s a player that we’ve had watched and we’ve got some reports on him.

“He’s another possibility that’s out there. Can we afford him? That’s probably not a question I can answer.”

With the Galaxy up against the salary cap at the time, plenty expected Zardes to be heading for an imminent departure, but the sales of defender Omar Gonzalez to Pachuca and midfielder Juninho to Club Tijuana last week have since freed up some much needed funds.

In addition, Reading’s interest in his services has cooled since their decision to sack Clarke earlier this month, just three weeks after he turned down the chance to manage Fulham, and all the signs now point towards the 18-times capped US international returning to the StubHub Center for 2016.

Speaking to lagalaxy.com about Zardes’ future, coach Arena said: “We fully anticipate having Gyasi back with the Galaxy.”

Club president Chris Klein added: "I think the most exciting thing is to look at Gyasi and to see the type of person that he is and to understand that he continues to work hard and has a long way to go.

“That’s exciting for our club, that’s exciting for our fans, and it’s exciting for Gyasi. We want to continue to see him score a lot of goals in a Galaxy shirt.”

Zardes originally joined the Galaxy in December 2012 as a homegrown player and has since recorded 26 goals and 10 assists in 88 regular season appearances for the club, while also netting the opener in the 2014 MLS Cup final to help secure a 2-1 extra-time win over the New England Revolution.

After a 16-goal 2014 campaign, the California native netted just six times last term due to spending most of his time on the wing following the summer signing of Giovani dos Santos, but his impressive performances have still seen him establish himself as a regular starter for the US national team in the meantime.

The pacey attacker will more than likely be heading to Europe eventually given his obvious promise, but it looks like nothing will be happening until at least the summer.

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