ENGLISH Championship side Reading have commenced talks with Liverpool to extend the loan deal of Nigerian playmaker Ovie Ejaria so he can remain with the club until at least July 31 when the current season is due to end.
Ejaria, 22, signed for Liverpool, the newly-crowned English Premier League champions in the summer 2014 and since 2018 has been sent out on loan to several clubs to gain playing time and experience. In August 2019, he joined Reading on a season-long loan deal which was due to end on June 30 but with the campaign truncated by the coronavirus shutdown, Reading need to extend the midfielder’s stay.
Born to Nigerian parents in Southwark in southeast London, Ejaria is a mercurial playmaker and recently pledged his international future to the Super Eagles. Earlier this month, he indicated that he is willing to commit his international future to Nigeria’s Super Eagles at senior level despite winning the U20 World Cup with England in 2017.
Reading are now seeking to extend Ejaria’s loan deal until July 31, so he can be available for selection when they face Luton Town, Huddersfield Town, Charlton Athletic, Middlesbrough, Blackburn Rovers and Swansea City in their last six games of the season. If an agreement is not reached, Ejaria will only remain available for Reading’s next two fixtures against Derby County and Brentford.
Seen as vital to Reading’s push to get into the Championship play-offs, Ejaria has made 33 starts for the club since joining on loan this season, scoring three goals. In December 2019, Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr urged the Nigeria Football Federation to step up the process of getting Ejaria to play for Nigeria.
Under Fifa rules, if a player has represented one country youth level in competitive games, he will need to go through a formal switching process, which can sometimes take up to a year. A creative playmaker, Ejaria is considered an important part of the Eagles jigsaw puzzle, offering much needed creativity.
Meanwhile, young Nigerian centreback Gabriel Osho has signed a contract extension with Reading until the end of July. Osho, 21, who captains Reading U23s, has played three first-team games this season and was on the bench against Stoke City last weekend.