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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 9 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Jul 14, 2006

Premiership newboys Reading sign Sodje

Premiership newcomers Reading have completed the transfer of Brentford defender Sam Sodje.

The 27-year-old has signed a three-year deal after passing a medical, with the League One club having agreed an initial fee of £350,000 which could rise to £500,000 based on appearances.

Sodje, who was playing non-league football with tiny Margate just two years ago, had previously turned down a switch to Championship outfit Southampton but found the lure of the top flight irresistible.

He said: 'It is every player's dream to play in the Premiership, and I am delighted to get this opportunity. I have come a long way in the last two years and this move is a big challenge, but I believe I can do it.

'I have spent some time here in the last few days, met some of the lads and it seems a great club. Everything feels right and I think this move will lead to good things for me.'

The Nigerian-born defender is manager Steve Coppell's second signing in the space of three days following the capture of South Korea midfielder Seol Ki-Hyeon.

Coppell said: 'Anyone who's seen Sam play knows he's got a magnificent leap for his size. He's so good in the air and his timing is excellent. He's got good pace, and he's an out-and-out defender.

'So many defenders are frustrated centre-forwards but Sam knows he's a defender and he's in that mould. He wants to defend, he can venture forward but knows what comes first.'

Sodje helped Brentford reach the play-offs in both of the last two seasons and was named in the most recent PFA Select XI for League One.

Royals fans will have to wait a while to see him in action, however, as he is still recovering from a knee injury.