Kelly makes Reading switch

BY foxsports • January 12, 2013

Nikola Zigic's agent has ruled out a move to Villarreal after insisting the striker has no plans to leave Birmingham City during the January transfer window.

The Serbian has scored five goals in 16 Championship appearances for Birmingham this season and has been the subject of an offer from Spanish second division side Villarreal.

The 32-year-old's representative Milan Calasan also claims several other clubs have shown an interest, but that Zigic is in no hurry to quit St Andrew's.

"The Spanish club offered 50 per cent of Zigic's salary, but they want Birmingham City to pay the other half of his contract," Calasan told Sport.

"But Nikola is staying, he is not moving to Villarreal. He is not interested in moving to the Segunda Division, he is now waiting for a better opportunity.

"And there is something else - his kids are in school in England, that's why he is not so keen on moving in January. And he also loves England, more than he loved Spain.

"He is happy with the money he gets, he loves life in the UK. He has a contract as though he would be playing for Manchester United.

"Birmingham City could buy five new players if he were to move but, as I said, he is not really keen on moving right now.

"But there are clubs interested in him. Not only Villarreal, but also clubs from Germany and Asia, Levante, Malaga, there was interest from West Ham United and Newcastle United and so on."

The Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League have agreed in principle to a restructuring plan that would see the organisations merge in a 12-12-18 structure, with a vote likely to take place later this month.

Paul Goodwin, head of Supporters Direct Scotland, said: "Supporters Direct Scotland (SDS) welcomes the first steps towards the restructuring of Scottish football.

"Recognition that change was required has to be welcomed by everyone involved in the game both now and in the future.

"I attended a meeting yesterday with the chief executives of the Scottish FA, Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League and was encouraged that their members are committed to change for the good of the game.

"I was also pleased to receive assurance that any new single league body will work with SDS to ensure maximum transparency to supporters on all future decisions and to ensure that fans' views are heard.

"SDS also believes that other key stakeholders such as the Professional Footballers' Association in Scotland and the Scottish League Managers' Association must also be involved so that all voices are not just heard but are part of the decision making processes from now on.

"Whilst welcoming the possibility of a more equitable monetary distribution, I reiterated that many supporters have reservations over the proposed league structures but welcomed their willingness to work with us going forward.

"We also urged the league bodies and, in particular, the member clubs to consult closely with supporters to ensure a fuller understanding of any proposed new league format.

"As a result SDS has suggested hosting a series of roadshows for fans with representatives from the relevant football authorities to ensure a wider understanding of the proposals for league reconstruction.

"We would encourage fans to keep making their views known to us either through our website - www.scottishfans.org - or by attending our roadshows which happen throughout the season.

"It's important for SDS to have the most informed and up to date view from the people that matter most, the supporters of football clubs and of the game as a whole."

The 29-year-old Republic of Ireland international has joined the Royals on a two-and-a-half year contract, the Premier League club announced.

Kelly becomes Reading's third signing of the January transfer window following the arrivals of midfielders Daniel Carrico and Hope Akpan.

Reading say the move is still subject to final ratification of all paperwork from the football authorities but expect that to be a formality, although Kelly was not signed in time to be involved against West Brom on Saturday.

McDermott is thrilled to have captured the defender, who was a key player for the Cottagers last season, making 34 appearances, but has lost his starting berth to Sascha Riether this term.

McDermott said: "I'm delighted to have Stephen here.

"He has played a lot of games in the Premier League and more than 30 times for his country. He's the kind of player I've been talking about - someone with great experience, but at 29 still very young in football terms and at a really good stage in his career.

"I know he's going to fit into the dressing room here really well. He's up for the fight, up for the battle, he's hungry, he wants to do well and I know he'll be successful for us."

Kelly, who can play on either the right or left of defence, came up through the youth ranks at Tottenham before breaking into the first team at White Hart Lane.

After several spells out on loan, he joined Birmingham permanently in 2006 and spent three years at St Andrew's - incorporating a loan stint at Stoke - before making the move to Fulham, who he helped reach the Europa League final in the 2009/10 season.

Kelly has been a regular for the Republic of Ireland since making his debut in 2006 and captained his country for the first time against Uruguay in March 2011.

Reading chairman Sir John Madejski said: "It's a great signing for Reading football club. He's a proven international and Premier League player and he seems like a lovely guy as well.

"We've had some great success with players from Ireland in recent years and I'm sure the signing of Stephen will be no different. I'm delighted he has signed and we all wish him very well during his career at Reading."

Fulham confirmed Kelly had joined Reading for an undisclosed fee, adding: "The club would like to thank Stephen for his contribution and wishes him well for the future."


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