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Thursday, June 28, 2012
Royals boss hails Pogrebnyak signing

ESPN staff

Reading boss Brian McDermott says the signing of striker Pavel Pogrebnyak shows the club mean business on their return to the Premier League.

Reading - who went up as champions a year after the disappointment of a play-off final defeat against Swansea at Wembley - secured the Russian's signature despite competition from Fulham, where he had been a success on loan during the second half of last season.

Pogrebnyak, 28, scored six times in 12 games for the London club but failed to agree a permanent deal, leaving the way clear for Reading to secure his signature.

And McDermott believes the former Stuttgart player is just the kind of signing the Berkshire side need as they prepare for life back in the top flight.

"The owner [Anton Zingarevich] had a chat with Pavel about six weeks ago, and I met him too," he said. "He showed us a lot of respect, and we're delighted to get him. It shows where we are going as a club.

"He's a great transfer - an excellent player - but what drew me more to him was that he is a good person, a good character. He works really hard for the team and fits into what all of my players have shown over the last season.

"Obviously, it was an advantage to me that Anton is Russian and could speak to him. But I wouldn't say we brought him in because he is Russian. He fits the mould of what we want."

McDermott said he was looking forward to facing Gylfi Sigurdsson next season, with the former Royal poised to move to either Tottenham or Liverpool after having been strongly linked with Swansea, where he spent a productive loan spell last campaign.

Sigurdsson came through the ranks at Reading, playing more than 50 games for the club, before moving to German side Hoffenheim.

"I haven't got a clue where he is going to go, but I do know he is a top player," McDermott said. "Anyone who plays that system - one off the striker - will see him score. I don't care what team he plays for."

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