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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 25, 2006

Coppell keen to bolster Reading with World Cup star

Reading manager Steve Coppell is hopeful of adding another World Cup player to his squad in time for the new Premiership season.

The Royals already have three, with South Korea winger Seol Ki-Hyeon, a £1.5million capture from Wolves, having joined USA duo Bobby Convey and Marcus Hahnemann.

Convey became the first, and so far only, Royal to play in the World Cup finals last month, with goalkeeper Hahnemann having remained an unused substitute.

Superstar purchases are beyond the top-flight newcomers' reach but Coppell was nonetheless hopeful that a quality performer from one of the smaller nations in action in Germany might still opt to join them.

He said: 'Everyone in football was looking at the World Cup, trying to identify the rough diamonds or, if you are one of the big boys, the finished article.

'It is easy to identify the world's best players but the task we set ourselves was to identify players who perhaps wouldn't alert the sensors of the big teams but would be suitable for us.'

Ghana defender John Mensah had been linked with Reading but remains at French outfit Rennes and Bristol City's Australia midfielder Luke Wilkshire - who had also been suggested as a possible signing and talked up by Guus Hiddink - is on the verge of joining FC Twente in Holland.

Coppell is sure to have more than two names on the list of targets he has already submitted to chairman John Madejski and director of football Nicky Hammond, however.

And the pair already know from past experience that Coppell is not a manager who will ask for a player who would break the wage structure, even though the club is now competing with the cream of English football.

He said: 'We are not prepared to gamble to try to stay in the division. We have to do things our way and our way is a very specific market. There are certain players who just would not even think of coming to Reading so we have to be realistic.

'The budget here is never outlined. The chairman says to me to identify players and I know our market. I'm not going to suggest players who are well beyond our parameters and as yet the chairman has never refused me on a transfer. I hope I can test him over the next month or so.'

Coppell has already had his way over one set of negotiations however, as Madejski revealed that the new 12-month contract agreed with the former England winger had seen him granted a 'substantial' pay increase.

Madejski said: 'We had to increase his managerial fee substantially but that was fine as it was only to be expected.'