Reading star wanted by Anderlecht as he searches for more minutes

Reading's George Puscas (second left) celebrates after scoring the first goal of the game during the Emirates FA Cup third round match

By Kieran Lawler

RSC Anderlecht are being linked with a move for George Puscas, per a report.

The Romanian became Reading’s record signing when he joined the club during the 2019/20 season. He joined from Serie A giants Inter Milan for a reported £6.75 million, scoring 12 goals in his first season with the RoyalsHowever, he hasn’t been able to find the form he showed during his inaugural season at the Madejski.

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According to journalist Emanuel Rosu, the Belgium side preparing a loan move for the forward.

The 25-year-old has one goal in 24 appearances this season, failing to find the net in the Championship so far.

His only goal came in Reading’s third-round defeat to Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Cup.

He also lost his place as a regular starter under Veljko Paunovic. The Serbian manager turned to the in-form Andy Carroll to start upfront. The 33-year-old scored two goals in eight appearances before his short-term deal with Reading came to an end.

Paunovic expressed his desire to see Carroll stay with Reading. 

Speaking to Berkshire Live, he said: “Andy Carroll is somebody we must have here in order to go through this difficult period.

“He showed his spirit, his fighting mentality, he never gave up and [showed] his qualities.

“The team played a lot for him in the first half. We still have to improve on that and it would be massive if he stayed.

“We made him a contract offer – the best possible and now we await his response.”

The return of Lucas Joao could also prevent Puscas’ from returning to the starting eleven. Joao was Reading’s top goal scorer last season, but he has only played twice this campaign due to a hip injury.

The Royals are also desperate to lower the wage bill due to their financial struggles, so a loan move to Anderlecht could suit both parties.

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Rafael returns to Brazil

The veteran goalkeeper has mutually terminated his contract to facilitate a move back to Brazil, per a club statement.

The Brazilian made 98 appearances during his time with Reading, and he won the player of the season accolade in his first season.

Under Paunovic, he kept 17 clean sheets during the 2020/21 season before being replaced by 24-year-old Luke Southwood this campaign.

The club did wish their former goalkeeper well after the termination of his deal and thanked him for his efforts.

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