Ovie Ejaria faces an uncertain and complicated short-term future as Reading battle to find the funds for his permanent switch from Liverpool.
The 22-year-old first joined the Royals in January 2019, after his stint with Rangers came to a premature end, one which would turn into another loan deal in 2019/20 with an obligation to buy at the end of the season.
Reading had agreed an initial £3 million deal with £500,000 in add-ons with Liverpool last summer, but now face financial difficulties which could scupper the deal thanks to a huge wage bill and a bloated squad.
Ejaria has impressed throughout his time at Madejski Stadium, with the versatile midfielder playing a total of 55 games for Reading over the last season-and-a-half with a return of four goals and seven assists.
And despite question marks over the deal moving forward, Ejaria has returned to pre-season training with Reading as the Reds continue to show good faith in progressing with his switch.
Manager Mark Bowen touched on the “complicated” situation Reading and Ejaria find themselves in but hopes a breakthrough can be made as soon as possible.
“With Ovie it’s a complicated situation, just in the fact of the finances of the club,” Bowen told Reading’s official website.
“We’re lucky to have him at the moment here, he’s come back and he’s in training and thanks to Liverpool for that for letting him join for training.
“But, again, I can’t give too much information other than it’ll just depend on the finances of what the club can do and whether we can take that forward.
“I’m trying to get as much information over the next week or so and hopefully progress that one. But it is all wrapped around what we can do in terms of our finances.”
There are a number of avenues the two clubs could look to take to push through the move, but it could come down to if Liverpool would be accepting of lowering the agreed fee or if another club enters the fray to offer more money.
But with the Reds having continued to act as though Ejaria is Reading’s player at the start of pre-season, it bodes well that a deal will be agreed – where outgoings for the Royals could be key.
Despite his form dipping at the back end of last season, with an ankle injury ending his campaign prematurely, the 22-year-old was one of Reading’s shining lights as they finished the campaign in 14th position.