Last updated : 20 January 2003 By Rob Cooper
New Royals Signing Steven Sidwell
New Royals Signing Steven Sidwell
Reading have signed Arsenal starlet Steven Sidwell on a three and a half year contract for a undisclosed fee, believed to be in the region of £300,000.

Several days of fraught negotiations between Reading Football Club and Sidwell's representatives came to an end today when the highly-rated attacking midfielder decided to sign on the dotted line.

The youngster, who chose the Royals over Brighton, will wear shirt number twenty-seven. He is expected to make his debut against Leicester in eight days time.

The ginger-haired youngster has already been tipped to add the piece of creative flair that Reading have been lacking this season. The Royals have the worst goalscoring record in the Division.

Commenting on the signing boss Alan Pardew said: "I'm overjoyed he's joined us, he's another young player we've invested in for now and the future.

"Steven Sidwell is all about end product and the two penalty boxes. His desire to win games means he will protect our box and more importantly will contribute with a goal threat at the other end.

"Of course you need a fantastic engine to do that but Sidwell has that in abundance. He's technically proficient as you would expect him to be coming through Arsenal's Academy system."

The 20-year-old has played twelve First Division games already this season whilst on loan at Steve Coppell's Brighton side, scoring five times in the process.

Club chairman John Madejski was also pleased to confirm the signing. Mr Madejski commented: "I'm delighted to welcome Steven to Reading Football Club, he is a very talented young player.

"This signing shows our continued ambition to get into the Premiership and we are certain that Steven will be a key player for us in his time here. We hope as many fans as possible come along to see him make his debut against Leicester next week and get right behind both him and the team."