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Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest must secure permanent Costel Pantilimon deal

The Romanian has kept three clean sheets in a row.

Mathew Coull

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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.

WATFORD, ENGLAND – MAY 21: Costel Pantilimon of Wartford and Rene Gilmartin of Watford embrace prior to the Premier League match between Watford and Manchester City at Vicarage Road on May 21, 2017 in Watford, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – JANUARY 30: Costel Pantilimon of Watford reacts during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Nottingham Forest and Watford at the City Ground on January 30, 2016 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Harry Hubbard/Getty Images)

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.

Nottingham Forest

Aitor Karanka should target reunion with Julien De Sart

The Belgian could be a great signing for Nottingham Forest.

Mathew Coull

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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.

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Nottingham Forest

Tyler Walker should leave Nottingham Forest and escape father’s legacy

The young striker may never fulfil his potential at Nottingham Forest.

Mathew Coull

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Being the son of a legendary footballer certainly brings with it some element of pressure. There are not many who have gone on to perform at the highest level quite like their fathers have. Jordi Cruyff, anyone? One young man who is currently trying to forge his own path is Nottingham Forest striker Tyler Walker.

The 21-year-old is the son of former Forest and England defender Des Walker. The 59-cap England legend spent two spells at Forest before retiring in 2004 and is considered one of the greatest defenders in the club’s history.

(left) of Oldham chase the ball during the Littlewoods Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in London. Nottingham Forest won the match 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Dan Smith/Allsport

So following in his footsteps was always going to be difficult. Walker has impressed at Forest but has also had to spend time on loan with clubs like Burton Albion, Stevenage and Port Vale.

The young striker has certainly had his moments at the City Ground and this season was looking promising for him. He scored four goals in 16 games for Forest but after Aitor Karanka’s arrival his first-team opportunities dried up.

Instead, he found himself loaned out to Bolton Wanderers where things did not go to plan. He struggled at the Macron Stadium and played just five times. Eventually, he was dropped to the under-23s and played no part in the Trotters Championship survival run.

So what next for Walker? Has the time come for him to leave the City Ground, for good?

The reality is that this summer might be the best time for Walker to move on.

Ilkeston v Nottingham Forest - Pre-Season Friendly

ILKESTON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Tyler Walker of Nottingham Forest talks to Des Walker during a pre season friendly between Ilkeston and Nottingham Forest on July 12, 2014 in Ilkeston, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

Karanka, it seems, is not a fan. The club has ample options in the striker position with Joe Lolley, Ben Brereton, Apostolos Vellios, Darryl Murphy and the returning Jason Cummings all options. New faces are also expected and Walker will soon have to contend with the emerging talent of Arvin Appiah.

Walker needs to start making a name for himself as more than just the son of the legendary Des Walker. Trying to do that at the club where he is so revered is always going to be a massive challenge.

This summer might be the perfect time for Walker to say he wants a move elsewhere. He could thrive in League One and become a star in his own right. But it means bidding farewell to the City Ground and the legacy of his father.

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Does Zach Clough have a Nottingham Forest future after tough 2017-18?

The Nottingham Forest player struggled during a loan spell at former club Bolton Wanderers.

Mathew Coull

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Back in January 2017, Nottingham Forest appeared to have made a fantastic signing.

The club snapped up talented playmaker Zach Clough from Bolton Wanderers.

The deal was reportedly worth around £3 million, as reported by Football League World, and it was deemed a positive move from the Forest management.

Mark Warburton and his staff had identified the League One talent as a player capable of helping the Tricky Trees in their battle against relegation from the Championship.

Clough had been impressing at Bolton for some time and Forest fans were hopeful he could go on to become a long-term option at the club.

Things certainly started off well for the player, who impressed during the second half of last season at the City Ground.

But this campaign was more of a struggle and in January Forest allowed him to return to Bolton on loan until the end of the season.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Joining up with the Trotters again was supposed to help rekindle the flame for the attacker. But his second spell at the club proved to be a disappointment. He struggled to find his rhythm back at the Macron Stadium and in April was even demoted to the under-23 squad.

So does he have a future at Nottingham Forest?

It has been a tough campaign for the player but Forest fans must remember one key thing, Clough’s age.

He is still only 23-years-old and Forest have him under contract until the summer of 2021. Whilst the 2017-18 season will no doubt be one to forget for the young man, hopefully the challenges have helped forge him into an even better player than before.

This summer he will need to work hard to prove to Aitor Karanka that he is worthy of regular football at the City Ground.

But in terms of a long-term future, the £3 million man should not yet be given up on by Forest.

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