Harper warns Reading could be wrong move for Rogic
Tomas Rogic of the Mariners could move overseas to play. Photo: Vince Caligiuri
Andy Harper is wary of Tom Rogic moving to Reading, despite the English Premier League club making the Canberra product one of its main targets for the January transfer window.
Harper thinks the 20-year-old should stay in the A-League for another season.
Rogic's manager Andy Bernal confirmed Reading's interest in Rogic with discussions ongoing on Monday, but Harper thought a move to the wrong European club could hamper the Central Coast playmaker's career rather than help it.
Reading wanted to sign him a year ago after he won a spot at the Nike Academy, in England, through a talent search, but its application for a work permit was declined.
He returned to Australia and signed with the Mariners for the second half of last season who then extended his contract by a year.
He has also been linked with Italian Serie B club Ascoli.
But Harper, a Fox Sports soccer commentator and former Socceroo, wanted Rogic to pick the right club.
He was concerned with Reading's position on the EPL ladder - the English club was second-bottom and in the relegation zone.
Rogic could find himself playing in the Championship next season.
Harper said one of the more ''technical'' European leagues might be more beneficial to Rogic's development.
Italy, Germany, Holland and Belgium were leagues he thought would help Rogic grow as a player.
''There's talk of the English Premier League, [but] I wouldn't be jumping in there if I were him at this point, a more technical competition would suit him at this stepping stone,'' Harper said.
''A move to a Premier League club would be brilliant, but Reading are skating on thin ice at the moment and I wouldn't want Tommy Rogic going to a championship club necessarily.''
He thought another year in the A-League under the guidance of Mariners coach Graham Arnold could be more beneficial.
''It depends where he goes, but I'd like to see him stick around for another season,'' Harper said.
''He came in on the back-end of last year and this will be his first full season, including Socceroos call-ups, and I just think another year of consolidation wouldn't hurt.
''It is about timing when players make a leap into Europe, you can certainly go too soon, equally you can go too late, but I think it's better to err on the side of caution.
''Especially if you're playing regularly in a good team here that values you with a coach that's developing you and that's certainly the case with the Mariners.''
Bernal used to play for Reading and still has strong ties with the club, which has confirmed Rogic was one of their main targets in January.
''We'll talk to the Mariners and take it from there," Reading director of football Nick Hammond said.
''We've been monitoring Tom closely for the past year or so and were really disappointed when we couldn't sign him because of those work permit issues … but our opinion of him has only got higher as we have watched him continue to excel for the Mariners.''