Manchester United defender Tyler Blackett looks set to drop a division and complete a move to Reading. The 22-year-old academy graduate was pictured at a rainy Madejski Stadium yesterday (20 August), where he watched his prospective new side play out an entertaining 2-2 draw with promotion contenders Brighton & Hove Albion.
Blackett was linked with the Royals earlier this summer, although that speculation eventually fizzled out as the club focused their attentions on pursuing a deal to sign Liam Moore from Premier League champions Leicester City.
That interest now appears to have been rekindled, however, with The Sun reporting on Friday that Jose Mourinho was content to sanction an exit with the player not featuring in his first-team plans moving forward.
Getreading have since confirmed that talks continue to be held over a permanent transfer, with Blackett, like Moore, who was finally confirmed as a Reading player on a four-year deal before that clash with Brighton after weeks of negotiations, said to be eager to work under United favourite Jaap Stam.
A member of the Red Devils' 2011 FA Youth Cup-winning side, the 22-year-old spent time on loan at Blackpool and Birmingham City before making his first-team debut during Louis van Gaal's first competitive match in charge – a disappointing 2-1 home defeat by Swansea City – in August 2014. He went on to make 12 appearances across all competitions that season and was memorably sent off at the King Power Stadium for conceding a late penalty as United blew a two-goal lead to lose 5-3 against Leicester City.
Blackett, who has represented England at youth level including one cap for Gareth Southgate's U21s, joined Celtic on a season-long loan deal last August but made only eight appearances for the reigning Scottish champions under then manager Ronny Deila.
He is currently under contract at United until 2017, having signed a new deal last February. That agreement included the option of a further 12 months, although such an extension seems extremely unlikely to be enforced.
Primarily a left-back who is also capable of playing in the middle of defence, Reading will be eager to utilise Blackett's versatility.
With Leicester dragging their heels over Moore and Stam evidently not convinced by the mistake-prone Jake Cooper, the two-time Championship winners were forced to partner captain Paul McShane with combative midfielder Joey van den Berg – who netted an own goal and was sent off against Brighton – at centre-back.
His arrival would also provide much-needed competition for Jordan Obita, who has faced preciously little competition for a first-team berth over recent years.