With the summer transfer window quickly approaching, the list of players linked with moves is growing by the day.
Nottingham Forrest are the latest team in the rumour mill and are being linked by the Nottingham Post with £10 million-rated striker Abel Hernandez – an exciting forward the club should definitely consider pursuing.
The 27-year-old’s current contract is set to expire in the summer, meaning he could become available on a free at the beginning of the summer window.
However, Forest are not the only side interested in the former Palermo striker with Olympiacos, Celtic, Aston Villa and Newcastle also keeping tabs on the Urugyuan international.
The Hull City goalscorer has had his fair share of injuries in recent months but when fit it’s impossible to deny Hernandez has an impressive eye for goal.
Despite considerable time spent on the sidelines, Hernandez has hit eight goals in 10 games this season for Hull, with the striker earning respect across the Championship and a move could seem imminent for Hull’s no 10.
Since joining the Tigers in 2014, Hernandez has struck 37 goals in 101 appearances (including two Premier League seasons) for the club, and he could be the goalscorer Aitor Karanka needs to push for a play-off charge next season.
The Reds have still yet to find a hit-man that fires on all fronts and, while ensuring the continued development of their promising youngsters, they need a marksman who is going to improve on the teams 51 goals this season.
Hernandez has the Championship experience to fill that void. If Karanka takes a gamble on the Uruguayan, it would undoubtedly assist the club in pushing on from this season’s disappointing 17th place finish.
Three things learnt from Aston Villa’s win over Hull City: Grealish stands out
Aston Villa earned their first three points of the season with a victory over Hull City. It has been a turbulent summer for the club, but they have come out of the other side and look to be promotion contenders again this campaign.
They couldn’t have had a worse start as a looping Evandro effort beat everybody and found its way into the back of the net. Visiting supporters weren’t silenced for long as poor defending from a corner allowed Tommy Elphick to score an equaliser.
The game was open and both teams had chances, but individual errors cost the home team. David Marshall was the first to commit one as his poor clearance gifted the ball back to Ahmed Elmohamady who scored against his former team.
The victory was confirmed thanks to a rare Alan Hutton goal. The full-back charged forward without being challenged and fired past Marshall to put the result beyond doubt. Here are three things learned from the game at the KCOM Stadium:
Jack Grealish is a cut above in this division
The transfer speculation surrounding the midfielder has refused to go away this summer and he showed why on Monday night. Grealish didn’t have his best game, but he looked a cut above every time he had the ball at his feet.
The 22-year-old rarely put a foot wrong as he completed 95% of his passes and he got the assist for the first goal. His corner delivery made it easy for Elphick to head home the equaliser.
In addition to his classy contributions in possession, Grealish was fouled more than any other player on the field, highlighting how he was targeted by the opposition. It was clear that he is too good for this division and it will be interesting to see how the final days of the transfer window play out.
If he stays, Aston Villa have a great chance of challenging for automatic promotion.
Hull City’s defence needs to improve
The scoreline flattered Aston Villa on the balance of play, as Hull City offered a threat and were arguably the better team for stretches of the game. However, they were let down by their defence.
All three Villa goals were examples of bad defending and Hull will be in trouble this season if they don’t cut out the individual errors. The first was poor marking from Jordy de Wijs as he let Tommy Elphick go in the area.
The second goal came from poor distribution by David Marshall. Meanwhile, the third could have been avoided as Alan Hutton charged through without a meaningful challenge.
Nigel Adkins is always upbeat, but he will realise the task ahead of him this season. The defence is his main concern and if it doesn’t tighten up, relegation is a real possibility.
Aston Villa need to get the best from Jonathan Kodjia
It was encouraging to see Kodjia named in the starting eleven for the first match of the season after his injury problems over the past 12 months. Last season, he managed only 18 appearances, nine of which were as a starter.
If he is fit, he is one of the best strikers in the division, as he showed between 2015 and 2017, when he scored 38 goals across spells at Villa and Bristol City.
On Monday, he looked short of confidence in the final third. His poor decision making was shown when he chose to go alone rather than play Elmohamady who was in a better position. There were two or three other examples of Kodjia giving it away cheaply.
It may take him a few weeks to get up to speed, but at the age of 28, he should be reaching the best years of his career. If Aston Villa want to challenge for promotion, they need to get the best out of Kodjia.
Hull City should bolster ranks with Nottingham Forest’s Zach Clough
Hull City are backed by many people to struggle badly during the 2018/19 Championship campaign
Championship outfit Hull City have found new recruits hard to come by in the summer transfer window and boss Nigel Adkins would surely love to sign a few more players before the window slams shut in just over a week’s time.
Financial uncertainties and boardroom restraints have seen the incoming activity come at a premium at the KCOM Stadium this summer and some of the club’s supporters are unsure what to expect from the 2018/19 campaign.
A couple of shrewd additions have been added to the squad in the form of Eric Lichaj from Nottingham Forest and the highly-rated central defender Reece Burke who has also joined from West Ham United.
The Tigers aren’t blessed with loads of cash to spend so the charismatic Adkins could be forced to continue to shop for loans and bargain signings before the window closes.
One man who could be a solid addition to the Tigers’ squad is Nottingham Forest misfit Zach Clough, who has been told by Aitor Karanka that he is surplus to requirements at the City Ground and is free to find another club, according to the Nottingham Post.
The 23-year-old signed for the Reds from Bolton Wanderers in 2017 and in splashing £3 million for his services, it was anticipated that he would become a big player for Forest in the future.
It hasn’t worked out for the attacker, however, and a loan spell back at the Trotters during the second half of last season was a complete disaster, leaving Clough’s career at something of a crossroads.
It seems pretty clear that he needs to get out of the City Ground as quick as possible if he has any desire to play football during the 2018/19 campaign and given their lack of attack-minded options, Clough would surely get ample chances to impress at Hull City.
One bonus for the Tigers in any potential move to secure his services could be the fee. Given that Forest have told their player that he has no future at the club they might be willing to cut their losses and offload Clough on the cheap, which would be music to the Tigers’ ears.
Michael Dawson signing comes at the ideal time for Nottingham Forest
It was announced the 34-year-old would be returning to the City Ground on Wednesday evening.
On Wednesday night, Nottingham Forest announced the signing of centre-back Michael Dawson after the expiration of his contract at Hull City.
The acquisition of the ex-Tottenham defender is a superb addition to Forest’s backline and will add Premier League and promotion experience to Aitor Karanka’s squad.
The transfer also represents a homecoming of sorts, as Dawson began his career at the City Ground, leaving for Tottenham in 2005 after four first-team years at the club.
The Englishman enjoyed great success at White Hart Lane, leading Spurs into the Champions League and notching four international caps from 2010-2011.
After over 200 appearances in north London, Dawson joined Hull City in 2014, where he experienced two seasons in the top flight and two in the Championship.
- (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)
An ever-present for the Tigers in his four seasons at the KC Stadium, Dawson gained valuable knowledge on how to lead a team to the Premier League, as he marshalled the side to promotion via the play-offs in 2015/16.
The 34-year-old centre-back will be a crucial part of Forest’s defence next season, as he brings priceless promotion experience and the skills of a lengthy Premier League career.
Known for his superb leadership skills, immense physical presence, and consistency at the back, Dawson can bring solidity to a team that conceded 65 goals last season- only eight Championship clubs allowed more.
Although some fans might fear Dawson’s advanced age may hinder his performances, the defender has shown little signs of letting up, as he made an impressive 40 appearances for Hull City last season.
The signing of Dawson is all the more laudable as as he will join on a free transfer after his Hull contract expires on June 30, a smart move that will respect Financial Fair Play regulations.
Michael Dawson will be an assured presence in the Nottingham Forest backline, as he represents an astute transfer that will inject the promotion-chasing side with Premier League experience and promotion guile.
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