TugaScout is an English-language site reporting on matters associated with Portuguese football by freelance writer Alex Goncalves, offering the latest news, reviews and opinions surrounding the Portuguese League and the Seleção players based abroad.

Reading in battle to sign controversial Portuguese centreback Ruben Semedo

Reading in battle to sign controversial Portuguese centreback Ruben Semedo

Once seen as the leading future centreback of the Portugal national team, English Championship strugglers Reading are one of the sides keen on bringing in former Sporting star Ruben Semedo.

Signing the 24-year old centreback will be far from straightforward though, with the defender having had his passport seized, preventing him from being able to currently leave Spain.

Having played for Sporting CP 48 times across all competitions by the time he was just 22 years old, Semedo earned an impressive - and expensive - move to Villarreal, the La Liga outfit paying a substantial 14 million euros for the physical defender, illustrating just how highly rated Semedo was in the Iberian Peninsula as recently as two years ago.

With clear quality as a central defender, being confident on the ball, a good tackler and reader of the game, and a physical presence in the box, his footballing credentials speak for themselves, and many expected him to be the heir to Portugal’s standout defender, Pepe.

However, everything went downhill quickly for the former Sporting man; it began after he was arrested for an altercation in Valencia, where he was accused of displaying a pistol in public and threatening people.

Just a month later, he was arrested again, this time for even more serious allegations, thought to have assaulted and tied up a man, keeping him captive in his house before then committing burglary on the victim’s home.

Semedo was imprisoned as a result, only released four months later after paying bail of 30,000 euros.

As a result of these controversies, added to injury troubles, Semedo was limited to just 4 appearances for Villarreal, suggesting that he was a gamble that didn’t pay off for the Spanish side.

And having already been given a second chance at fellow La Liga side Huesca, who signed him on loan just a week after his release from prison, they eventually decided that he could end his association with the club early, letting his loan come to an abrupt end.

Therefore, despite playing 12 fixtures for the Spanish side so far this campaign, he is now available for other clubs to pursue.

And, as reported by O Jogo, one of the club’s interested in bringing in Ruben Semedo is English Championship outfit Reading, who sit in the relegation zone of the English second tier.

Portuguese manager Jose Gomes will undoubtedly know the great qualities that his compatriot has, and may be able to look past his previous troubles to give him another opportunity to prove himself and start doing the talking on the pitch. There is still hope that the youngster can turn things around, learn from his mistakes in youth and come back to show the world of football just how good he is.

But Reading face competition, namely from his home country, to secure his signature. Indeed, Portuguese outfit Maritimo, who are currently dangerously close to the relegation zone, just one place and two points above the drop zone, are assessing the possibility of bringing in Semedo should the opportunity present itself.

In other news relating to Reading, Manchester United goalkeeper Joel Pereira is also thought to be a real target of the English club, who recently had his loan with Setubal terminated.

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