Jeff Hendrick will be back at Newcastle United this summer, but Reading manager Paul Ince is already hoping his side can sign the midfielder.
In an ideal world, he leaves the club permanently, but that might be difficult due to his wages. His Newcastle deal, which runs until 2024, is worth £50,000-a-week.
That could prove to be a stumbling block, but Reading boss Paul Ince has been very open about his desire to work with Hendrick again next season.
Paul Ince hopes to keep Jeff Hendrick at Reading
Ince has spoke to Sporting Post, and was asked about Hendrick potentially staying at the Select Car Leasing Stadium beyond this season.
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“Ideally he’s one of the players you can keep,” he said.
“He’s based in London, he’s got a family down here. In my life I’ve played with and managed some great players, but to me he is the ultimate pro. He comes in every day and does it right. He’s a great lad, everybody loves him. You know what you’re going to get out of him, seven or eight out of ten every week, he cares about his job.
“Newcastle have gone down a different road and I think Jeff knows that. If we can afford to keep him next year then that’d be great. But I can’t think about next year. I need to think about keeping the team in the Championship, which is going to be tough enough as it is and then we go from there.
“But if anybody asks me what the idea of a perfect professional is, it’s Jeff Hendrick because he’s a super guy. Fingers crossed and everything goes well for us and we manage to stay up, then we’d like to keep hold of him.”
That would be perfect for Newcastle
Ince is very keen to keep Hendrick at Reading, which would be absolutely perfect for Newcastle.
The 31-year-old has no future at St James’ Park, having barely featured after Eddie Howe replaced Steve Bruce as Toon manager. Hendrick, who famously scored the final goal of the Mike Ashley era, has played just 10 minutes for Howe, coming off the bench in a 4-0 defeat to Manchester City in December 2021.
Since then, he has been on loan to QPR and now Reading, while Newcastle have gone from strength to strength without him.
Standards have risen on Tyneside, meaning there is absolutely no chance Hendrick will ever play for the club again. When he last played, we looked like relegation certainties. Now Champions League football is on the horizon.
Newcastle need to get rid, and Reading could potentially provide a solution.