Premier League strugglers Reading are close to appointing Brighton's Gus Poyet as their manager. There is a willingness on both sides to get the deal done and only the finer details of the Uruguayan's contract need to be finalised ahead of an announcement before the end of the week.
Poyet has now met the Reading owner Anton Zingarevich and the Russian has approved the appointment, which has been driven by the director of football Nicky Hammond. There is a compensation payment of just less than £2m payable to Brighton on the termination of Poyet's contract. The move will be a blow to the club who are outside the Championship play-off places only on goal difference.
There has been a longstanding agreement between Poyet and the Brighton chairman, Tony Bloom, that Poyet would be permitted to speak to a Premier League club if interest was shown in him.
While there has been surprise in some quarters that Poyet would leave Brighton, where he won promotion from League One as champions in 2011, the spending limitations placed upon him in recent months, as the team have tried to push for the top six in the Championship, have been a frustration. He signed Leonardo Ulloa in January but has encountered restrictions bringing in a new striker before the 28 March emergency deadline.
While Brighton have thrived in the Championship, finishing 10th last season, they have punched above their weight when it has come to the wage bill. The current squad has been developed by Poyet with a Spanish contingent, including the former Spain international Vicente. He has also had a major influence in attracting players such as loan signing Wayne Bridge and the midfielder Liam Bridcutt, who is in the current Scotland squad.
While Reading look doomed to relegation from the Premier League this season, the club are prepared to back their new manager with the funds to make an immediate return next season. Under the new television deal, the parachute payments that go to clubs relegated from the Premier League have been increased to £23m for the first year, a huge advantage to sides dropping down.
The expectation is that Poyet will come to an agreement with Reading in the coming days and take over the team in time for the next game against Arsenal away, a week on Saturday.
His first foray into coaching was under Dennis Wise at Swindon, before moving to Leeds with his former Chelsea team-mate. He then worked under Juande Ramos at Tottenham.
Reading are currently seven points from safety with eight games of the season left and still have to play, among others, Liverpool, bottom-placed Queen's Park Rangers and the champions Manchester City, though those fixtures are at home.