Wolverhampton Wanderers signed one promising youngster on the final day of the transfer window, landing Meritan Shabani from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. But it really should have been two.
According to the Express and Star, 18-year-old Reading forward Danny Loader was all set to join Shabani at Molineux. He even had a medical planned with just hours left before the 5:00pm deadline. But there was a nasty sting in the tail at the eleventh hour.
In a move reminiscent of Swansea City’s last-gasp refusal to rubber stamp Daniel James’ January move to Leeds United, Reading suddenly upped their asking price for Loader and caused the deal to fall through.
You can see why Loader's head would be in a spin. The teenager thought for all the world that he was bound for the Premier League only for a deal that looked all-but done to collapse at the last minute – almost literally.
But Wolves could still have the last laugh yet.
After all, Loader has less than 12 months left on his contract and, this time next year, the England youth star will be available for absolutely nothing. Should the teenager continue to go from strength to strength at the Madejski, there’s nothing to stop Wolves from snapping up Loader in the summer of 2020 without spending a penny.
The skilful forward should benefit from another full season of Championship football too, rather than making the odd run out for Wolves' reserves. With the benefit of hindsight, Loader’s failed move to Molineux looks anything other than a disaster. In fact, it could benefit everyone in the end.
Reading get another year out of their prized asset, Loader improves with more exposure to first-team football and Wolves snap up one of England’s brightest youngsters for free.
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