Reading FC manager Veljko Paunovic defends striker’s January transfer exit

Reading FC boss Veljko Paunovic has defended the decision to let George Puscas leave the club and not bring in a replacement.

The Romanian striker made a shock exit from the Royals last Monday on deadline day, joining Serie B side Pisa on loan for the rest of the season.

The 25-year-old had recently rediscovered his goalscoring touch for Reading, scoring twice in his last five games after going the previous 25 this season without scoring.

READ MORE: Reading FC release updated squad list for remainder of season after Ince, Puscas and Moore transfers

His departure leaves Paunovic’s side with just one fully fit senior striker currently in Lucas Joao.

The manager has youngster Jahmari Clarke to turn to as well as Yakou Meite, although the Ivorian is still recovering from his knee injury.

Paunovic insists the club can do without Puscas for the remaining months of the season and has hinted they will bring in a free agent to bolster options up front if necessary.

“It (Puscas’ exit) was an opportunity for all parties to change and now we all move on with our goals and objectives ahead of us,” the manager said.

“We will consider Yakou’s return as a big and massive improvement in the team.

“We are going to watch Jahmari who is finally fit and training with the first team who has shown in the past that he can be useful to the team.

“We’ll see if we can improve our backline and other opportunities in free agency.

“We still have two places in our current squad that we can fill, so we are limited, but we still have room for improvement.”

Paunovic made just two signings in the January window, bringing in goalkeeper Karl Hein from Arsenal and striker Tom Ince from Stoke City.

The Serb also tried to bring in a defender but was thwarted in his attempt. The free agent market remains a possibility for the Royals to add to the squad and there are two vacancies which can be filled at any time.

Paunovic added: “I don’t want to bring in someone we already have. I want something new, something different.

“May be [someone with] the pace, maybe the quickness, the ability to affect in the final third, whether it’s a winger, a pure striker, a number 10.

“We just need something different, I think.

“Our problem, especially last year, was that we had the same type of guy in attack and when the teams figured out how to play against us, it was difficult for us to change him from the bench.”

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