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Popa pops in at Royals

Romanian winger makes switch to Championship chasers

Malcolm Howe



Popa pops in at Royals

READING have clinched the pre-deadlin signing of Romanian international winger Adrian Popa from Steaua Bucharest for an undisclosed fee.

The 28-year-old's career has been spent in his homeland where he won promotion to the top tier with both FC Universitatea Cluj and CS Concordia Chiajna before signing a five-year deal with Steaua five years ago.

The Bucharest-born wide man went on to make more than 200 appearances for the club, winning four domestic cup competitions and three consecutive top flight titles whilst also playing Europa League and Champions League football in the capital as well as representing his country at Euro 2016 last summer!

Popa made his international bow in 2014 and now has 21 caps to his name, arrives at Royals to bolster the options available to manager Jaap Stam going into the final three and a half months of the Championship campaign.
"Adrian is a forward with enormous potential who has played at a high level in Romania as well as in European and international football,” said Stam.
"He is an experienced player, who is quick, a constant threat to the opposition, good on the ball and who is comfortable playing on the left, on the right or even up front in a two.
"With the amount of games we have coming up, a player of his quality will make it easier for us to rotate a little more and give some players a rest if we need to, so I’m delighted to have him here as part of our squad."

Popa scored his last goal for Steaua Bucharest just before Christmas, bagging the only goal in a Liga I encounter against Poli Timisoara – his first professional club - at the Arena Nationala to cement their second place standing in the division going into the winter break.
Earlier that same month he played a part in Steaua’s Europa League defeat at Villarreal and he has also featured against Manchester City in the Champions League this season, though Bucharest were beaten by Fabian Delph’s goal at the Etihad back in August.
He also took on Chelsea in the last 16 of the Europa League in 2013, starting in a 1-0 home win over Rafa Benitez’s men before featuring in a 3-1 second leg defeat at Stamford Bridge nearly four years ago.
Popa was a member of the Romania squad in France for Euro 2016 and featured part in all three of his country’s group games.

The move is subject to the usual ratification processes and international clearance, and Popa will take squad number 25 and could be eligible to make his debut at Birmingham City on Tuesday night when he would become the first Romanian player to represent the club.

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