Hammond hails Seol signing
By Tom Adams. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Reading director of football Nicky Hammond has hailed the signing of Seol Ki-hyeon.
The South Korean international moved to The Madejski Stadium from Wolves over the summer and has immediately acclimatized to life in The Premiership.
Seol has scored winning goals in two of his last three games, against Sheffield United and West Ham, to emerge as a key player in The Royals' impressive start to the league campaign.
After spending two seasons in The Championship the forward has shown no signs of struggling to cope with the jump in quality, and Hammond believes the player has positively thrived at a higher level.
Indeed the Royals chief says, at £1 million, Seol's arrival was one of the best purchases of the summer.
"Seol was the first player to come in and he was very much one of our primary targets in the summer," Hammond told the club's official website.
"He's played in two World Cups and has the right professionalism and personality.
"We felt he had much more to offer than he'd already shown in England and he was potentially more suited to Premiership than Championship football.
"He was a player who we thought could unlock the door, which is something you need in the top division.
"When you look at the market this summer and his initial fee of £1million, I'm delighted with the deal."
Hammond is also hoping for fellow new boy Ulises De La Cruz to make an impact with The Royals after moving from Aston Villa on a free transfer.
"Ulises has 85 caps but despite that he's got something to prove. He didn't have a very good time in the last 12 months at Villa so he's hungry," Hammond added.
"He's versatile and performed exceptionally well in the World Cup.
"Importantly he's also a really nice man."
Reading largely neglected to splash the cash in the transfer market over the summer, but Hammond has now revealed how the Premiership side were keen to tie up a deal for Ghanaian World Cup star John Mensah.
The defender would have reportedly cost around £3.5 million, but The Royals were unable to convince Rennes to concede their option on the player.
"It has been widely reported that John Mensah was a player we wanted to sign.
"We had spotted him back in the African Nations Cup and he went on to have a very good World Cup playing in an excellent Ghana team. But his contractual arrangements proved to be highly complicated.
"He was on a season-long loan from Chievo to Rennes, who had a firm option to buy him at the end of that loan period.
"They did take up that option and despite us making a number of offers to them above the money they paid Chievo, they were adamant they were not going to sell them."
Meanwhile Royals defender Curtis Osano has joined Aldershot Town on loan for a month and could make his debut during Friday's Conference clash against York City.