Nottingham Forest transfer questions that need to be answered including Africa Cup of Nations problem
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Going into this transfer window, there are big questions about how Nottingham Forest will approach their business. How prepared are Forest for the Africa Cup of Nations? Do Forest have enough goals in the squad? Can they keep hold of their top talent? Max Scott explores these questions in more detail as the transfer window hots up.
How prepared are Forest for the Africa Cup of Nations?
The success of Steve Cooper’s side is heavily reliant on some top African talent. Whether it was the defensive solidity of Willy Boly and Moussa Niakhate, the experience of Serge Aurier and Cheikhou Kouyate or the attacking threat of Taiwo Awoniyi, Forest have a strong group of African players that make up an influential portion of the squad.
With the Africa Cup of Nations running from January 13 to February 11, the hierarchy at Forest will be acutely aware of this as they plot their summer signings. This challenge is particularly difficult for the defensive line. Last season, Forest were hampered by numerous injuries to key defenders.
Omar Richards spent the entire season in the medical room, Giulian Bianconce suffered an early ACL injury which ruled him out for the rest of the season, Scott McKenna spent half the season out of action, Willy Boly only returned from an injury sustained in February for the last couple of games and Aurier and Williams both had spells out of action.
While everyone involved with the club will be hoping they don’t suffer the same injury epidemic next season, this must be playing on the minds of the powers that be. With reports of The Reds tabling an offer for Strasbourg defender Alexander Djiku, it looks like more defensive reinforcements could be on the way but more will need to be done to mitigate the losses of Forest’s African contingent.
Do Forest have enough goals in the squad?
This is also a consideration in Forest’s pursuit of attacking options. With Taiwo Awoniyi highly likely to feature for Nigeria, the pressure to find another striker increases.
Forest appear to have cornered themselves with their signing of Chris Wood. In their desperate attempt to bolster the side struggling at the time, they signed the Kiwi striker on a loan deal with a clause demanding them to pay £15m should he feature three times for the club.
Although he provides an aerial threat, he lacks dynamism and a goalscoring track record. As a result, Forest desperately need a player capable of scoring goals in the top flight. Whether they look to players like Patrick Bamford or Kelechi Iheanacho or cast their eyes further afield, this is an area the club must seek to invest in.
Can Forest keep hold of their top talent?
While much of the attention will be on adding to the squad, Forest have a job on their hands maintaining the services of their most talented players. The most pressing challenge will be to keep Brennan Johnson at the club.
Offers appear to have been tabled, with Forest reportedly requiring £50m minimum. If Forest can bat away the offers and support him in having another strong season, they’ll be able to cash in for a lot more at a later date. Equally, it won’t take long for Morgan Gibbs-White and Danilo to start attracting serious attention from other Premier League clubs.
Talk has already started about clubs readying themselves to bid for the Brazilian in the January window, and with Gibbs-White on the cusp of a call up to Southgate’s national squad, it’s only a matter of time before the offers come flooding in. Although Forest need to bolster the squad, they need to keep their best players so that incoming signings add to the quality, rather than just replace it.