JOE Mason has appeared on Reading’s radar – potentially dashing hopes the striker could head back to Wanderers on loan this season.

Sources in Cardiff claim that the Bluebirds are putting the 23-year-old striker up for sale for £1.5million, a price that currently looks out of Dougie Freedman’s reach.

They also note that Reading, who have already sold their top scorer Adam Le Fondre to Cardiff this summer, are now ready to resurrect their interest in the former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international and sign him permanently.

Mason impressed for the Whites last season, scoring six goals in two loan spells.

Freedman admitted earlier in the summer that he would look into re-signing the striker if possible but the club are unlikely to be dragged into an auction with all available funds currently being diverted towards a new left-back and the ongoing chase for Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Cardiff boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already recruited three front men this summer in Le Fondre, Federico Macheda and Javi Guerro, adding to a strong attacking roster that already includes Jo Inge Berget, Kenwyne Jones, Nicky Maynard and Frazier Campbell.

And while the Welsh club rate Mason, they have made no secret in the last 12 months they would be willing to sell.

Wanderers, Reading and Bournemouth looked into the possibility of a permanent deal last summer and again in January and were quoted £2million.

Nigel Adkins may have that kind of money once the Royals’ long-awaited takeover is completed.

Freedman desperately wants to add more goals to his squad, having lost the likes of Mason, David Ngog, Jutkiewicz and Andre Moritz from last season.

In fact, 27 of the 59 goals scored last term were claimed by players who are no longer contracted to the club.