In January Nottingham Forest made large-scale changes to their first-team squad. Aitor Karanka brought in an abundance of new faces to the City Ground as he sought to freshen up the squad and improve first-team options.
One area where the Spaniard clearly wanted to improve was in goal. Both Stefanos Kapino and Romanian international Costel Pantilimon were brought in from Olympiakos and Watford respectively.
Pantilimon arrived on loan from Watford and immediately took the place of Jordan Smith in the number one slot at Forest.
After a spell of settling in the 31-year-old has become an integral part of the Forest side. Karanka’s side have been in solid form recently. Their last three games have not seen them concede a goal, with three goalless draws.
Pantilimon has added a serenity to the Forest backline. The Romanian has been in fine form and clearly his experience is having a positive impact on the Reds defence which had previously been leaky at the back.
Smith was a positive young option. But his inexperience was having a detrimental impact on the Forest side.
Pantilimon has been a brilliant addition by the Spaniard, who clearly felt a new goalkeeper was needed.
This summer Pantilimon is looking likely to leave Watford. Heurelho Gomes and Orestis Karnezis are currently battling for first-team football with the Hornets and Pantilimon will be struggling to get into the first-team at Vicarage Road.
Pantilimon’s contract expires in the summer of 2019 and will need to find a new team in the near future.
Forest can offer the Romanian regular first-team football and he can be the experienced head that Karanka wants between the sticks going forward.
Keeping the 31-year-old this summer must be a priority for Forest and hopefully a deal can be found to keep him at the City Ground.