By Matt Farr
Liverpool defender Tiago Ilori has admitted that Reading manager Jaap Stam was one of the defining factors in his decision to quit the club.
The 23-year-old defender completed his £3.75million move to the Championship club on Wednesday morning, having failed to make a single appearance for Liverpool.
The former Portugal youth international joined Liverpool from Sporting Lisbon in 2013 for a fee of £7million.
Ilori has now agreed a three-year-deal with Reading, and will be looking to get his career back on track under Jaap Stam.
He admitted to the Daily Star that he couldn’t wait to work under the former Manchester United defender, and that he was one of the main reasons that influenced his departure from Anfield.
He said: “The manager is probably one of the strongest factors.
“To improve my career and myself as a player, there is no one better to learn from someone who’s been there, done that. I think he’ll be a great mentor.
“When you have the interest and you can see the project Reading are creating, I’d love to be a part of it, and they have the right conditions for me to develop as a player.”
Ilori also cited the club’s possession-based football as an enticing factor. Their playing style since Stam took charge in the summer has drawn high praise, with Reading flying high in fourth-place in the Championship.
Stam’s side have tasted defeat just three times in their last 10 league games, and are firmly on course to secure their place in the play-offs, and give themselves a chance of promotion to the Premier League.
Football Insider verdict
After arriving at Anfield with the hope and expectation of becoming a future first-team star, Tiago Ilori turned out to be a poor piece of business for the Merseyside club. The club made a significant loss on the player, letting him join Reading for almost £4 million less than what they paid to sign him in the first place. But given he failed to make a single appearance for Liverpool, they perhaps did well to get as much as they did. However, Ilori now has a perfect opportunity to get his career back on track, and with Jaap Stam he has a manager who knows what it takes to become a defender at the top-level. Stam’s intuition and guidance should do wonders for Ilori in the coming years, and hopefully he can prove all the doubters wrong.
In other Liverpool transfer news, the Mamadou Sakho transfer saga has taken another twist as this London club join the hunt.