Many Forest Fans were left disappointed with the season due to the fact the play off push desterilised however I remained positive that significant progress was made and there was still excitement of the possibility of mounting a late charge, which made a change from mid table obscurity/ relegation possibility. Forest finished 9th on 66 points a vast improvement from the season before when we ended 17th on 53 points and the season previous survived relegation on goal difference on the last day. Some might say with the money we spent last summer there was bound to be a big improvement and that the play offs should have been reached however I believe that this was too much to expect.
Forest must now build from last season by first and foremost keeping their best players from last season meaning it is imperative that they resist bids for Joe Lolley and not move on João Carvalho. These two are the most creative assets in the squad and both have been linked with moves away, Joe is receiving interest from his boyhood club Aston Villa and whilst this must tempt Joe he seems to be settled at Forest and not one to be pulled by money offered by the new premiership side and so far Villa have not offered what I consider to be his true value. João has been linked with a move to owner Evangelos Marinakis other club Olympiacos, this to me would be ridiculous and shows that the owner may have more interest in the Greek side. João may not have got as much game time under Martin O’Neil however he still made an impact and was brilliant against Middlesbrough. Forest lack creativity as it is and need to add in this department not weaken it.
Another two players that were on loan last season and should be looked at bringing back permanently are Jack Colback and Sam Byram. Jack was runner up in the player of the season awards to Lolley and showed an incredible level of consistency at the base of midfield. His wages and potential interest from other clubs may be stumbling blocks however. Also the future of Colback’s club manager Rafael Benitez may be delaying negotiations between the clubs so the sooner that is sorted the better. If Colback does not sign we have the options of Ben Watson,Claudio Yacob and Liam Bridcutt But they club will look to move at least two of those players this summer and have been linked with midfielder Harrison Reed of Southampton. Reed spent last season on loan at Blackburn, helping them to consolidate their position in the second tier, having made the step up from League One – and he made 36 appearances for Rovers, scoring 3 goals.
I am a big fan of Sam Byram and was delighted when he signed on loan last year unfortunately he was injured soon after joining and we didn’t get to see much of him. I would still pursue with his signing however because he has massive potential which persuaded West Ham to buy him in the first place and fits perfectly in a right wing back if we stick with that formation.
Forest’s prime targets in the Transfer Market should be a striker who can back up Grabban in the goal scoring department, it was proved last season that to get in the top 6 you need more than one 15 goals a season striker, WBA had Gayle and Rodriguez and Sheffield United had Sharp and Mcgoldrick. Secondly they need extra creativity as either an attacking midfielder or winger/wing back. So far we have been linked with Gavin Whyte, Cristian Stuani, Hosam Aiesh, Asmir Begovic, Martin Olsson, Kamil Grosicki, Callum O’Dowda, Lawrence Shankland and James Mclean. I have to admit to not knowing much about many of these targets however I’ll assess each individually.
The Oxford United winger who the Reds are said to have tabled a £2m bid for is a Northern Ireland International who Martin O’Neil has been said to be scouting whilst in action in the euro 2020 qualifiers. He was a regular for the League One team during his first season in English football, making 47 appearances and scoring nine goals, which included a hat-trick. He fits the bill of young winger however I am not sure he is of the quality required and worth the money being asked for with some reports suggesting Oxford want as much as £4 million.
Scored 19 league goals for Girona in La Liga last season, has had his buy-out clause halved to £6.1m after his side were relegated to the Segunda Division. Forest face competition from none other than giants Barcelona who are said to be waiting on any deal for Antoine Griezmann before making a decision. Barca’s interest shows he is held in high regard however £6.1m is a big fee for someone who hardly set the world alight at Middlesbrough. On the other hand he could be the striker to back up Grabban in the goal scoring department.
Ostersunds FK’s British boss Ian Burchnall has confirmed that the club are yet to receive any bids for the forward. But the former Bradford City and Leeds United coach revealed that scouts were circling at last month’s 3-1 defeat to Djurgarden. Forest, Leeds and Reading have all been linked with a move for the 24-year-old who has been in fine form for the Swedish outfit over the past 12 months. Earlier this year, Aiesh revealed that he had been promised by chairman Daniel Kindberg that any bid that matches his two million euro valuation would be accepted. The Swedish international has already told the club that he wished to leave during this summer’s window.
Would be an excellent addition, he admits his season at Bournemouth has been one of frustration, as speculation surrounding his future grows. Begovic is believed to be valued at around £7m, and understood to earn in the region of £70,000 per week on the south coast, baring this all in mind a move to the Championship would appear unlikely. Another goalkeeping option is Manchester City goalkeeper Arijanet Muric on loan. Reds boss Martin O’Neill and goalkeeper coach Seamus McDonagh watched the Kosovan international help his side to a win in Bulgaria last weekend. The duo were sufficiently impressed with the performance of the 20-year-old and the Championship club have now installed him as one of their summer targets.
A player I rate and would suit the wing back formation perfectly, On Friday the Sun claimed that the 31-year-old was set to hold talks with Rangers However, it has now emerged that the former Norwich defender, who is available on a free this summer, wants to stay in England and would favour that over a move north of the border.
Another player I rate highly having been impressed with his performances for Poland and Hull over the past few years. The Reds are likely to face a battle if they’re to sign one of the second tier’s most potent wingers. The £2.5m rated 30-year-old has also been linked with a move to Middlesbrough during a fine season on Humberside, Grosicki netted nine times for Nigel Adkins’ side, racking up 12 assists along the way
This link has been made by reds legend Kenny Burns following O’Dowda’s support of Martin O’Neill this week, while away with the Republic of Ireland squad. “I think with Martin it was more that he made me feel like a better player than I actually am,” said the Callum star. This would be a good signing however this fells like Burns putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 5.
A free agent as his Ayr United contract comes to an end this summer, and a prolific season in the Scottish Championship. Now Ayr manager Ian McCall has revealed the 23-year-old front man has two English sides and a leading club in Scotland all vying for his signature adding “There are a couple of pretty sizeable clubs in England where I’m pretty sure he would play. One in particular would suit him, a sleeping giant type club. Could this be Forest? Maybe.
Was linked with a move to Forest in January and would come with a lot of baggage having been the subject of a torrent of abuse at the City Ground just seconds into the Championship fixture between Forest and Stoke in November over his decision not to wear a poppy. Despite this he remains a good player. Another forward being speculated about is Heracles forward Brandley Kuwas. The forward can play either though the middle or on the right and has proven himself as a robust player, able to burst his way through defences using a combination of power, speed and skill.