JOSE Gomes’ Reading FC clear out began today with Pelle Clement joining Jaap Stam at PEC Zwolle.

The 22-year-old midfielder will hook up with Stam for a second time after the Dutchman had taken him to Reading from Jong Ajax in summer 2017 when he was manager.

The Chronicle also understands Royals are likely to send loan-winger Josh Sims back to Southampton in the next few days.

Gomes has been speaking face-to-face with all of his players this week after drawing up a list of those he wants to move on to new clubs.

The Portuguese, who takes his Reading side to Manchester United in the Emirates FA Cup third round this Saturday (12.30pm ko, like BT Sport), said: “Regarding players out, I have already given my report to the board of directors who are working on it.

“They will tell you in the right moment.

“What I can tell you is that right now I am working with less players.”

When pushed on how many players could be leaving in January, he replied: “Six or seven.”

Gomes has made no secret of the fact his first task is to make the Royals’ squad smaller, a move that will free-up wages to spend on his own transfer targets.

The former Rio Ave boss was this week linked with third-choice United keeper and fellow countryman, Joel Pereira, casting doubt over Vito Mannone’s future at Madejski Stadium.

The likes of David Meyler, Marc McNulty and Tyler Blackett also appear uncertain.

Reports suggest Coventry City are open to taking McNulty back on loan to solve their goalscoring problems, while Blackett is said to be the subject of an unconfirmed bid from Wigan Athletic.

Midfielder Dave Edwards is also believed to be on the list of players Reading are willing to let go, with a return to his former club Shrewsbury Town looking most likely.

Academy Under 23 striker Ben House was pulled out of training yesterday to sign for Swindon Town on loan.

However, Gomes insists he is no closer to making a signing of his own.

“The club is working hard, but not yet,” he declared. “We are working in the market and making the first step to reduce the number of players in the squad.

“At the same time we are trying to find good solutions under Financial Fair Play.”

Clement struggled to make an impact at Madejski Stadium and made just 29 appearances during his 18-month stay, only 14 of which were starts.

He played just 64 minutes for the first team this season in a Carabao Cup win over Birmingham in August.