Reading have bolstered their defensive options with the signings of Adrian Mariappa and Chris Gunter ahead of their return to the Premier League
Mariappa has been brought in on a three-year deal from Watford for what the Royals described as a “significant fee” and will join his new team-mates on their pre-season tour of Portugal on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old centre-back wore the captain’s armband at Vicarage Road and was recently named their Player of the Season. He is a product of the club’s youth system and racked up 247 appearances during his seven years with the Hornets, which included their ill-fated 2006/07 spell in the top flight.
“It’s a great feeling,” Mariappa told his new club’s official website. “The Premier League is the best league in the world and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to try to work my way into this team and perform for Reading Football Club.
“Reading is a great place to come to anyway, so it wasn’t a hard decision to make the move here. I just can’t wait to get onto a training pitch with all the lads and start settling in, getting to know everyone and playing in the pre-season games we have coming up.”
Reading boss Brian McDermott added: “I’m delighted to get the deal to sign Aidy over the line, we have been chasing him all summer. He’s been a very important player for Watford over a number of years, he is well known to most of our players already and also the staff here.
“Every single person I have spoken to about him has nothing but good things to say about him both as a player and as a person.”
The Berkshire outfit also recruited full-back Gunter on a three-year contract from Nottingham Forest for an undisclosed fee. The Wales international made 157 appearances during his three-year spell at the City Ground.
The 22-year-old said: “Having spoken to the manager, [director of football] Nick Hammond and now the chairman today, everyone has made me feel really welcome and I’m really looking forward to this opportunity.
“If you form a team spirit, a togetherness, you’ll always do well in football - and if you work hard you’ll get your rewards. Reading have certainly done that in the last few years. Hopefully that can carry on.
“Right now, I need to focus on impressing everyone at this club and I’m really excited to get going.”