Sky Bet Championship outfit Nottingham Forest have had an extremely busy summer as boss Aitor Karanka has set about revamping his squad at the City Ground.
No fewer than 16 players have arrived on Trentside so far this summer and the next new recruit might be close to penning terms with the Reds.
According to the Nottingham Post, Karanka is set to bolster his attacking options by signing international striker Karim Ansarifard, who will arrive on a free transfer after his release from Olympiacos.
The Reds’ boss has expressed an interest in adding to his attacking arsenal and this latest transfer news offers a firm indication that he is about to do so in the coming days.
Here at The Boot Room, we looked at the man who is set to be tasked with firing Forest into contention for promotion…
Who is he?
Karim Ansarifard is a striker with sizable pedigree when it comes to scoring goals, having netted 17 times from 25 appearances in the Greek Super League last season.
The 28-year-old finally appeared to start showing real promise during his time with Olympiacos, with some real eye-catching performances last season with the Greek giants.
At the age of 17, he smashed 55 goals in 123 appearances for his hometown club Saipa in Iran and throughout his career he has showcased his ability to score goals.
The name sounds familiar, why is that?
Well, that could be because he was one of the standout performers in the Iran side that so very nearly progressed to the first knockout stage from a group featuring Portugal and Spain.
Carols Quieroz’s men very nearly defied the odds in reaching the round of 16 and on another day, they might have beaten Portugal in their final group game to progress.
Ansarifard netted his side’s only goal of the tournament in Russia and he is a key player for his national team right now.
So why do Nottingham Forest require his services?
It has been well documented that the Reds tried to land a striker on loan deadline day, having flogged youngster Ben Brereton to Blackburn Rovers.
At present, Karanka has just 34-year-old Daryl Murphy and goal-shy Lewis Grabban at his disposal and an injury to one of those players would leave the Reds seriously short in attack.
Ansarifard would undoubtedly take away some of the pressure on those two players’ shoulders, whilst his ability suggests he can act as serious competition for a regular place in the Forest side.
Why has he chosen to transfer to the City Ground?
It would appear on the face of things that the man who owns both Forest and Olympiacos has pulled off a very clever transfer deal here.
Evangelos Marinakis is an astute business man and with Ansarifard falling way down the pecking order with the Greek side he has released the striker, freeing him up to make a switch to the City Ground.
With the transfer window closed, the Iranian striker isn’t really in a position to be fussy about where he goes to play his football, and the bid to reach the Premier League with Forest is clearly a challenge which excites the 28-year-old.
What are going to be his weaknesses?
One really problematic issue for Ansarifard could be the fact that he has never played in England before and with Forest not enjoying the best start to the season, they can ill-afford to carry a passenger for too long.
The talisman will need to get his feet under desk pretty quickly at the City Ground and a couple of goals in his first few games would go a long way towards quashing any suggestion that he might not be able to cut it in the Championship.
With Grabban and Murphy currently battling it out for the striking place in Karanka’s side, it would seem that he will get plenty of chances to shine should he sign and it is vital that he takes the opportunities which come his way.
Finally, is Ansarifard really the man to ignite Forest’s push for promotion?
Ultimately time will tell. Some of the more cynic Forest supporters will tell you that they would have preferred for the club to sign a more proven talisman prior to the loan window shutting – something which never came to fruition.
Forest have been forced to act quickly in their search for a striker following the closure of the window, especially with Grabban picking up a small injury that saw him miss the Birmingham City game last month.
If the Iranian man can come in and show similar promise to what he did at the World Cup playing for his country, then Forest could have a really solid player on their hands.
The task for Karanka is to ensure that he gets the very best out of the player and ensures he has him firing on all cylinders as soon as possible.