A Russian-led investment company have agreed to take a large stake in English championship (second division) soccer club Reading and plan to provide initial funding to strengthen the team during the current transfer window.

Thames Sports Investment (TSI), founded by Russian Anton Zingarevich, have reached an outline agreement with long-standing club owner John Madejski on the deal.

TSI's financial support aims to allow the club to retain its best players and acquire additional players as the management team see fit, TSI said in a statement, adding that the deal was due to be finalised in March.

The Zingarevich family were linked in 2004 with a reported plan to bid for Premier League club Everton but nothing came of that. Anton's father Boris Zingarevich is a timber tycoon.

Little is known about Anton Zingarevich, although media reports said he studied at university in Reading, a town west of London.

English soccer clubs have increasingly been targeted by foreign investors in recent years, with Russian, American and Gulf Arab money behind many of the biggest names in the game.

Reading played in the Premier League for two seasons from 2006-2008, and are currently just outside the promotion play-off positions.

Madejski, who made his money from the Auto Trader magazine, has been chairman of Reading for more than two decades and will remain in that role should the deal go through. He backed a move in 1998 to a modern, 25,000-seater stadium that is named after him.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)