England Under 21 international John Swift has agreed a move to Reading after leaving Chelsea, the Championship club have confirmed. The Blues academy midfielder has signed a three year-deal, with a one-year extension option, following a productive loan spell at Brentford during the 2015-2016 campaign. Manager Jaap Stam has hailed the signing as he believes that the former Chelsea midfielder could be a "big asset" for the club in the new campaigns.
The 21-year-old starlet moved to the Stamford Bridge academy at age of 14 and progressed through the youth ranks of the club before signing his first professional contract in 2012. Former manager Jose Mourinho handed him a first-team debut on the final day of the 2013-14 season in a 2-1 victory at Cardiff after he helped the Under-21 side to win the league in that campaign.
Yet, he has since failed to make the breakthrough into the Chelsea first team. He continued his development with two loan spells at Rotherham United and Swindon Town the following campaign before being sent on loan to Griffin Park for the 2015-2016 campaign, initially for one month but then extending it until the end of the season following a successful start to the live with the Bees.
Swift ended his loan spell at Brentford with seven goals and four assists in 27 Championship side while recently also helped the England Under 21 side of Gareth Southgate to win the Toulon tournament in Avignon.
However, he failed to agree a new contract at Chelsea and Reading has taken advantage of the situation to lure him to the Madejski Stadium for the next three campaigns, with an option for a further one.
"Reading Football Club are pleased to announce the signature of 21-year-old midfielder John Swift, who has put pen to paper on a three-year-deal with a one-year extension option at Madejski Stadium," the club confirmed.
Meanwhile, manager Jaap Stam has hailed the signing as he believes that the former Chelsea midfielder will adapt really well to his style due to his versatility.
"John is a very talented player. I've seen him play and I think he could be very important in the way we want to play," Stam said. "He can play as a winger on either side, or as an attacking midfielder. His physique is good, he is good on the ball, he has the pace to get past players, and he has the capability of putting his teammates in front of goal with chances to score. He is going to be a big asset for the club."
Reading Chief Executive Nigel Howe added: "John is a talented midfielder with a lot of potential,"
"He has benefitted from a fantastic upbringing within football whilst at Chelsea and on the international scene with England and he has also experienced the competitive nature of the EFL during a variety of loan spells. We are all looking forward to seeing him represent Reading Football Club going forward."