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Nottingham Forest

Aitor Karanka comments on Premier League trio should cheer Nottingham Forest supporters

Max Cohen



Photo: Getty Images

Costel Pantilimon, Jack Colback, and Lee Tomlin all spent the second half of the season on loan at Nottingham Forest, yet have returned to their Premier League parent clubs this summer.

Forest manager Aitor Karanka struck a hopeful tone when discussing the loan trio’s futures this week, with comments that should cheer the City Ground faithful.

In an interview with the Nottingham Post, the Spaniard confirmed that the club was interested in signing all three on a permanent basis. Crucially, the players also appear eager to remain at the City Ground, according to Karanka:

“The main thing for me is that all of them left at the end of the season, all wanting to come back here,”  the Forest boss told the Nottingham Post. “It means that they felt really good here; they felt the atmosphere in the changing room and confident on the pitch.”

The news will surely come as a relief to Nottingham Forest supporters, as the contributions of the Premier League loan trio were impressive and added top-flight quality to the Championship side.

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Tomlin joined from Cardiff in January and scored four goals and assisted three in just 12 starts for Forest, adding to his reputation of scoring stunning strikes.

Another influential January arrival was Colback, who played every single minute in the league for Forest after joining from Newcastle, except for the 3-0 home victory over Barnsley in April.

Watford loanee Pantilimon was another almost ever-present for Nottingham Forest after joining on loan in January, letting in just 14 goals in 13 appearances this season.

Although a personal issue kept him out of the squad for the final four matches of the season, Pantilimon kept four clean sheets and would be a great signing due to his imposing 6’8 frame.

Wages would present an issue, but if Nottingham Forest can sign Tomlin, Colback, and Pantilimon on long-term deals this summer, Aitor Karanka’s squad would receive a massive boost ahead of the 2018/19 season.

A full pre-season with the club would benefit the impressive loanees, and once they are fully integrated at the City Ground, the trio would play a part in Forest’s anticipated top-six push next year.

Max is a journalist studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Max specialises in English football and co-hosts a weekly podcast. He is also a politics reporter and deputy news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian.

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Nottingham Forest

Rectifying Patrick Bamford departure would be superb Nottingham Forest business

Nottingham Forest would love to bring their former talent back to the City Ground.

Mathew Nash



Nottingham Forest are reportedly interested in signing Middlesbrough forward Patrick Bamford this summer. The Mirror report (live blog, 16/02/2018, 17:43) that the Boro striker is one of three names targeted at the City Ground in order to add goals to the attack. Bamford, along with Lewis Grabban and Nelson Oliveira all fit the bill.

Bringing Bamford in however would be a massive coup for Nottingham Forest and act as a small redemption considering the way they lost him.

It is hard for many to remember, but the forward was once a Nottingham Forest player. In fact, the Middlesbrough star was with the club from the age of eight and was considered one of the top prospects to come through at the club for some time.

After making two first-team appearances for the club he was snapped up by talent sweeping Chelsea. The Blues paid £1.5 million to sign the player, leaving Forest devastated to lose such a strong talent.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

It was a controversial move. Many Forest fans felt the player was turning his back on the club, especially after rejecting two new contract offers. However, Forest were in peril back in 2012 and his departure just made sense considering the struggles at the City Ground. The youngster simply could not be blamed.

So bringing him back to the club would be a massive boost for the fans. Bamford, who Karanka worked with at the Riverside Stadium, is a regular with the Teessiders but is often used out of his favoured centre-forward position.

The 24-year-old, who was the Championship Player of the Year in 2014-15, is a player that Forest fans continue to rue losing to this day.

If Karanka could manage to bring him back to the City Ground six years after his disappointing exit, he will be giving the fans and the club a massive boost.

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Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest secure Benfica duo Joao Carvalho and Diego Goncalves

Will Nottingham Forest succeed under the Wolverhampton Wanderers model?

Jamie Watts



Nottingham Forrest have confirmed the signing of Benfica duo Joao Carvalho and Diego Goncalves, with the latter coming to the City Ground for a club-record £13 million, according to Sky Sports.

Attacking midfielder Carvalho, 21, will sign a five-year contract and officially become a Forest player on July 1st, trumping the previous club-record of £6.2m previously held by Britt Assombalonga in 2014.

Goncalves, 21, plies his trade as a winger, and will join Aitor Karanka’s side on a season-long loan, also from July 1st, having the option to make the deal permanent next summer.

Their current business is very reminiscent of Wolverhampton Wanderers’ approach last season, bringing in Portuguese additions from the Primeira Liga, to bolster a charge for Premier League promotion next term. And it worked for Wolves, with the side strolling to automatic promotion as Champions last season.

The club already have a manager who has previous experience of leading a team to England’s top flight, in ex-Middlesbrough coach Aitor Karanka, and now quality reinforcements are top the agenda for the Nottinghamshire giants.

Strangely enough, another common link between the two clubs exists, with super-agent and Wolves advisor Jorge Mendes being critical in completing the double deal for both the Benfica forwards, as he represents them.

Photo: Getty Images

Forrest have offered the promise of first-team football in the Championship, with both Carvalho and Goncalves failing to nail down regular starting positions with Benfica last season, with Carvalho making as few as two league starts, while the latter was limited to just three.

The Portuguese U21 internationals were promoted from the youth academy last year, breaking into the first-team after displaying their considerable talent, but it wasn’t to be at the Estadio da Luz.

It remains to be seen whether replicating Wolves’ approach will work for Forest next term, but the club are looking in fine fettle this window, and are heavily tipped for promotion in 2019.

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Nottingham Forest

Jack Marriott could be Nottingham Forest’s next Britt Assombalonga

The Peterborough striker is high up Nottingham Forest’s wanted list.

Mathew Nash



Nottingham Forest are one of several clubs said to be keen on the signature of Jack Marriott this summer. As reported by the Peterborough Evening Telegraph, the League One club’s director of football has confirmed the striker wants a move to Forest but also admitted East Midlands rivals Derby County were leading the chase.

The striker, valued at around £6.5 million, is a hot commodity this summer after scoring 33 goals last season for the Posh.

It has seen teams from up and down the country linked with his signature, but Forest have long looked the frontrunners.

Marriott is exactly what Forest needs. They were desperately short of goals under Aitor Karanka last season and the Posh striker might plug that gap. If he can have the same impact as another former Peterborough to Forest signing than fans at the City Ground will be very happy.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Back in the summer of 2014 Forest broke their transfer record to sign Britt Assombalonga from Peterborough. The DR Congo striker had just scored 33 goals in a season at London Road, the same amount Marriott managed last term.

He went on to be a fan favourite at the City Ground, although a horror knee injury severely hampered his development. After 30 goals in 69 games, the striker was off, joining Middlesbrough last summer.

Marriott has a similar level of promise and Forest will hope he can have a better impact than their former striking hero. If he can sustain his fitness as well, then he might even be a better signing.

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