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Nottingham Forest

Aitor Karanka should target reunion with Julien De Sart

The Belgian could be a great signing for Nottingham Forest.

Mathew Nash



It seems as though Belgian midfielder Julien De Sart will be looking for a new club this summer. He finds himself in a state of limbo after a season on loan at Zulte Waregem from Middlesbrough.

Despite being a regular for the Essevee he will not be making a permanent move to the club. According to Het Laatste Nieuws, the club will not be prioritising his €700,000 (£612,000) permanent deal agreed with Middlesbrough.

The 23-year-old will now return to the Riverside, where it appears he has no long-term future.

(Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

But should his former boss bring him to Nottingham Forest?

Aitor Karanka was the manager at Boro when De Sart was snapped up from Standard Liege back in 2016 and was considered one for the future on Teesside.

Now, the former Belgium under-21 international needs to find a new home and a reunion with Karanka at the City Ground could be a perfect move.

The central-midfielder would be a welcome addition for Forest, who need to strengthen across the park following another mediocre season.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

De Sart has impressed in the East Midlands before. He was finally showing what he could do during a loan spell with Derby County in 2017. Unfortunately, a change of manager saw him drop out of the side under Gary Rowett.

Forest, however, could offer him a second chance in the Championship and it would give Karanka a chance to properly work with a player he clearly rated just a couple of seasons ago.

He would be a cheap and known transfer option for the Nottingham Forest first-team squad. He would also arrive with a point to prove to his old boss Karanka and the manager at bitter rivals Derby, something Forest fans will certainly appreciate.

It would be an under-the-radar signing, but one which could act some genuine quality to the Forest midfield ahead of the new season.

Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest should keep hold of former wonderkid Stefanos Kapino

The Greek star only joined Nottingham Forest in February.

Mathew Nash



Nottingham Forest have been doing some interesting business this summer, especially as they broke their transfer record to sign Joao Carvalho from Benfica. But one are of the team that needs sorting is the goalkeeper position.

Forest have not had a settled goalkeeper at the club since Dorus De Vries left in 2016, and even he only held the number one shirt for one season. Since then a long list of names has held the fort. Vladimir Stojkovic, Jordan Smith, Dimitar Evtimov, Stephen Henderson and Costel Pantilimon have all had a chance since, as has Stefanos Kapino.

The Greek international arrived on a free transfer in February after his release from owner Evangelos Marinakis’ other club Olympiakos.

His arrival was met with some excitement. As a teenager, he became the Greek national team’s youngest ever player and was linked with some of the biggest clubs in Europe.

But a poor stint in Germany dented his progression and he found his way to the City Ground.

(Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Reports this summer have suggested that may not be for long, with the Nottingham Post suggesting he could be on his way out already.

But Forest should not give up on the Greek talent.

He played four times last season when loan stopper Pantilimon was out of the side for personal reasons. He made some errors but he is still settling into his new surroundings.

Forest are currently short in the goalkeeper department. Clearly, Aitor Karanka is not sold on Jordan Smith and Stephen Henderson struggles to stay fit.

Kapino is an exceptional shot-stopper with bags of pedigree. Given time and a little bit of trust he could be a valuable player for Forest, either as back-up or starting goalkeeper.

Forest should not give up on the 24-year-old just yet.

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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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