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.
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.