Lamouchi Getting to Work
Forest’s new manager is getting down to business in the transfer market bringing in 5 new players in the past week having only been in the position for 2 and a half weeks. He has brought in midfielders Tiago Silva and Alfa Semedo from Feirense and Benfica respectively. Silva joins on a two-year contract whilst Semedo on a year’s loan. Yuri Ribeiro has also joined from Benfica on a permanent deal and goalkeeper Arijanet Muric has joined on a season-long loan from Manchester City. Today Albert Adomah has been signed on a 2 year deal and with Sammy Ameobi joining before Lamouchi’s arrival Forest’s number of additions so far this summer has reached six.
20-year-old Kosovo international Muric is a highly-rated shot stopper who made the move to Manchester City in 2015 with a reputation of being one the brightest young goalkeepers in the game. Muric was given his full debut in September 2018 as he featured in City’s run to the Carabao Cup final last season, playing in their 3-0 victory at Oxford and he went on to perform superbly in the quarter-final at Leicester, saving two penalties in the shoot-out to ensure City progressed to the last four. Those displays earned him international recognition from Kosovo and he has since played in their last three European Championship qualifiers and is expected to be between the sticks when his nation play England in Southampton in September. Speaking shortly after he signed for The Reds he said: “I know the Championship quite well, I spent a lot of time watching it on TV last season and I know it’s a really tough league. I’m here to fight for the number-one spot in the team and to make sure I have some game time. Forest have been chasing Muric all summer as Costos Pantilimon was criticised (sometimes harshly) by many Forest Fans last season however some competition for the goalkeeping jersey can only be healthy and in Muric they certainly have signed someone with pedigree. Pantilimon kept 15 clean-sheets in the Championship last term, but the arrival of Muric means he now faces a battle to be first-choice. Given Forest also have Luke Steele and Jordan Smith, at least one of those three will be allowed to leave – and Pantilimon is understood to be on the radar of fellow Evangelos Marinakis-owned club Olympiacos.
21-year-old defensive midfielder Semedo already has Champions League experience under his belt having played three times in the competition last season for Benfica. Having graduated from Benfica’s academy in 2016, Semedo had successful spells with Portuguese sides Vilafranquense and Moreirense before he returned to the Estádio da Luz ready for the start of the 2018-19 campaign. Perhaps the highlight of his career so far came in October 2018 when he scored the winner in Benfica’s 3-2 victory at AEK Athens in the group stage of the Champions League. Semedo spent the second half of the season on loan at Espanyol. He certainly seems a promising signing with good experience already under his belt at his age and the potential to be a key man for Forest using his strength and power to break up play and start of attacks. He is highly regarded, with Forest beating competition from Burnley, Middlesbrough and Wigan for his signature who were all understood to have been monitoring his progress.
22-year-old defender Ribeiro also progressed through the Benfica academy, before he spent the 2017-18 season on loan with Portuguese side Rio Ave where he made 25 appearances and scored one goal in the 2-0 victory over Boavista . He joins Forest with Europa League experience to his name having featured in Benfica’s victories over Galatasaray and Dinamo Zagreb in the competition last season and has previously made appearances for Portugal Under 21s at international level. He is likely to be understudy to Jack Robinson at left back but will provide a more natural deputy in that position to Ben Osborn.
Silva is a former Portugal under 21 international known as a technically-gifted midfielder, the 26-year-old is another product of the Benfica academy but made his professional debut for Portuguese side Belenenses in August 2013. Silva made a permanent move to Portuguese Primeira Liga side Feirense in the summer of 2018 and enjoyed a successful 2018-19 campaign as he scored five goals and weighed in with nine assists from midfield. In his first interview since signing Silva said
“I’ve only been here for a day or so but everyone has made me feel very welcome and part of the group. It seems like a really good group of players here so I’m looking forward to getting started. “I already know two of the players; Tobias Figueiredo from my time with the Portuguese national team and Joao Carvalho from when I was in the Benfica academy so at least there will be two friendly faces.
“I prefer to play in central midfield, as a number eight, and make sure I can win the ball in the middle of the pitch. Making assists is important for me as well and hopefully I can contribute some goals to the team also.Silva chipped in with nine assists for former club Feirense last season and the midfielder says proving opportunities for other players is a big part of his game.
It remains to be seen if Silva will operate in that number 8 position or as an Attacking Midfield and provide Joa Carvalho some competition for that position but he should add some needed creativity and flair to the ranks.
A concern from some fans is that Forest are adopting a similar strategy to last summer in bringing in players from Portugal, Last season they signed Carvalho and made Tobias Figueiredo’s loan move permanent along with Gil Dias and Diego Goncalves on loan. With the later 2 largely disappointing, But who is to say these will work the same or not. The main problem for last summer’s signings was their physicality and certainly in Semedo’s case this should not be a problem and they could become as popular as Carvalho has.
Former Aston Villa winger Albert Adomah has joined as a free agent after being released from Villa Park and will add more power, strength and experience to Forest’s front line. The winger says he cannot wait to get out and play at The City Ground in front of The Reds’ faithful.
Speaking to iFollow Forest he said: “Every time I’ve been here, the support has always stood out to me. I remember playing at The City Ground for Bristol City and the atmosphere was really intense. I know the attendances were really strong last season so I’m hoping to be able to show my talent in front of a massive City Ground crowd. “Having been an Aston Villa player for the past few years, it’s an absolute pleasure to sign for another massive club and hopefully I can show people what I can do. It is a really exciting time for me.” “I’m here to play football but I’m also here to be successful. Promotion has to be the number-one aim for a club like this and that’s what I’m here to achieve. “I’m excited to meet my new teammates and take part in my first training session here at Forest. I’ve heard there is a really strong group of lads here so I’m looking forward to meeting them all and getting started.”Adomah experienced the thrill of promotion during his time at both Middlesbrough and Aston Villa and the winger says he hopes to use those memories to full effect in the upcoming Sky Bet Championship campaign.
Sammy Ameobi will also add to Lamouchi’s attacking options, being capable of playing as a winger or striker. The former Bolton Wanderers man has had decent runouts in friendlies against Alfreton and Dundee, weighing in with an assist and hitting the post against the former. He like Adomah is a physical forward with pace and this something Forest lacked. With the deal being a free transfer and a one year contract it is a low risk move.
Forest still have work to do in the Transfer Market both in the incoming and outgoing departments , The squad is top-heavy on numbers and players need to be moved on who are unlikely to feature in order boost wages available for new additions. With Semedo’s arrival Ben Watson and Liam Bridcutt fall in to this category, Peterborough United are reportedly interested in Bridcutt. Claudio Yacob is said to be interesting fellow Evangelos Marinakis-owned club Olympiacos. However I feel Yacob is the better option to keep rather than the other 2 defensive midfielders mentioned .
Another player whose future is in doubt is Daryl Murphy with reports suggesting he has been told he can leave and possibly returning to Ipswich. Jason Cummings and Zach Clough are others that futures lie elsewhere and deals need to found for.
In terms of further additions Forest need another goal scorer as to ensure not too much of a burden is on Lewis Grabban. Whilst Karim Ansarifard showed glimpses towards the end of last season and Tyler Walker may get his chance I feel more fire power is needed to mount a promotion challenge. It concerns me that Forest have not been linked with many strikers, Only Christian Stuani fits this bill, however the signings of Adomah and Ameobi do lessen the need for a forward as both will provide gaols however not enough and from mainly a wide posoition.
There have been suggestions that Sheffield United want to sign Ben Osborn, I have mixed views on this as Ben has been a superb servant and grafter for Forest, he provides the odd moment of real quality and his work rate is tremendous and these attributes could be missed if allowed to leave. However he has 1 year left on his contract and if a bid is received close to 5 Million then it may be time for him to move on and despite him being Forest through and through the chance to play in the premier league doesn’t come everyday.
As for where else the Reds need to strengthen…. A right-back may well be on their list, to push Tendayi Darikwa for a place in the team. Sam Byram impressed on loan last season despite being hampered by injury, and parent club West Ham United are said to be willing to let him leave. It remains to be seen where he will end up though, with reports he was offered to West Bromwich Albion as part of a £10m bid for Salomon Rondon which also included Jordan Hugill as a makeweight.