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Nottingham Forest scout praises Costel Pantilimon after Deportivo loan woes

The Romanian goalkeeper had a torrid time on loan at Deportivo La Coruna earlier this season.

Mathew Nash



Nottingham Forest made plenty of changes to the first-team squad during the January transfer window, including the arrival of two new goalkeepers. Stefanos Kapino has not yet made an impact at the City Ground but Costel Pantilimon has been in good form since arriving from Watford on loan.

The Romanian took the place of youngster Jordan Smith between the sticks and has done a fine job since being given the number one jersey. In his 10 games for the club, he has kept four clean sheets and added some much-needed experience at the back.

WATFORD, ENGLAND – JANUARY 23: Costel Pantilimon of Watford is seen on arrival at the stadium prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Watford and Newcastle United at Vicarage Road on January 23, 2016 in Watford, England (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

It has certainly been a more successful loan spell than the one he had in the first half of the season. Not many people will even realise that Pantilimon was on loan at La Liga side Deportivo La Coruna for the first part of the 2017-18 campaign. He played just six times for the club, failing to usurp Ruben as number one or Przemys?aw Tyto? as the club’s number two.

One man who has been key to the upturn in his fortunes is Forest manager Aitor Karanka. That is, at least, the opinion of one of his scouts. Juan Jose Vila, a video analyst at Forest who has previously worked at Valencia, Spartak Moscow and Deportivo, was speaking to La Opinion A Coruna this week when he said of the Romanian:

“I met him here, he’s an exceptional kid. Perhaps in Dépor he did not have that confidence or that necessary adaptation and we gave it to him.

“Karanka has been vital to him. He has done extraordinary games. He has won us points. The team has seven games without losing and he is one of the great responsible for that streak. In fact, in the last three he has not even conceded.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 13: Costel Pantilimon of Watford in action during The Emirates FA Cup Sixth Round match between Arsenal and Watford at the Emirates Stadium on March 13, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

The interview was clearly done prior to the 2-0 defeat v Millwall on Good Friday but regardless it is clear Karanka has worked wonders on the towering keeper’s confidence.

After the rough time he had in Spain the Forest loanee could have easily struggled to find his best form with his new team. With Kapino also arriving and Smith at the club, the competition for places would have also added pressure on the Romanian.

But he has certainly done plenty to have Forest fans hoping for a permanent deal in the summer as they try to mount a promotion push next season.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

Nottingham Forest

What role can Daryl Murphy play at Nottingham Forest next season?

The Nottingham Forest striker faces an interesting year at the City Ground.

Mathew Nash



When Nottingham Forest snapped up Daryl Murphy last summer it looked like a coup for the club. Signed for a fee in the region of £2 million from Newcastle United fans were excited about the Republic of Ireland star’s arrival.

They had good reason to be excited. Murphy had just played a role in Newcastle United’s promotion to the Premier League. He had been scoring goals for fun at Ipswich Town. Murphy netted 27 goals in 2014-15 and in the previous three seasons had scored a total of 50 goals.

But last season was a struggle for the Irishman. Injury hampered his debut season at Forest. Despite scoring six goals in his first 11 games for the club, it soon turned sour.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

He scored just once more in 20 more games for Forest and featured just six times in 2018.

“It was a tough season last season for Daryl. So far he has been training really, really well and he looks confident; he looks strong – although he has always been strong.

“I was really pleased, because he is doing really well and he is a player who can help us a lot.”

– Aitor Karanka speaking in July

So does he have a future at the club?

Forest have improved their attacking options immensely this summer. The arrival of El Arbi Hillel Soudani and Lewis Grabban has added massive firepower up top. With youngster Ben Brereton also fighting for a first-team spot with Joe Lolley capable of playing up top, Murphy has a job on his hands.

At 35-years-old he may find himself happy with a bit-part impact role at the City Ground. He may have to because it does not seem he will be a starter next season.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves’ incoming recruit Joao Moutinho was once targeted as Luka Modric replacement

Wolves are set to sign the Portugal star for just £5 million.

Mathew Nash



In many ways, Wolverhampton Wanderers’ impending deal to sign Joao Moutinho from Monaco is no surprise. The Portuguese international is a client of Jorge Mendes who has helped bring many stars to Molineux in recent months.

On the other hand, it is a massive shock. Moutinho only signed a new deal with Monaco at the end of March. Then there is the price-tag. According to Sky Sports, the deal is worth £5 million between the two clubs.

Moutinho has, in the past, been valued considerably higher.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

When Tottenham Hotspur agreed on a deal to sign him in 2012 the fee was £24 million. In the end, he decided he did not want to leave Porto that summer leaving Tottenham without a Luka Modric replacement.  

He ended up joining Monaco a year later for a similar fee and over the years has been heralded as one of European football’s more understated midfield dynamos.

Considering Everton are about to pay ten times as much to bring in Richarlison from Watford, it highlights how good a deal this is for Wolves.

Moutinho succeeds nearly everywhere he plays, even on an international level where he won Euro 2016 with his nation. But even if he doesn’t at Wolves, the price-tag is so low it was worth the risk.

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Leeds United

Leeds United round-up: Saiz wanted, Vydra and Hernandez deals rumble on, Machuca unveiled

All the latest news and gossip from Leeds United.

Mathew Nash



Saiz-able offer

Leeds United are fending off admirers in Spanish talent Samuel Saiz. According to Fichajes, he was wanted by three La Liga clubs this summer. The talented playmaker has courted the interest of former club Huesca, Getafe and Valencia.

The latter are said to have made a bid of £8.9 million for his services, whilst Getafe have also made Leeds an offer.

However, the report claims that Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has absolutely no desire to sell the 27-year-old, who he sees as key to Leeds’ hopes this season.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Demands must change

Leeds have not yet given up on signing either Matej Vydra or Abel Hernandez this summer, according to YEP journalist Phil Hay.

Leeds offered a contract to free agent Hernandez and had a £11 million bid accepted for Czech talent Vydra.

However, both could not agree on personal terms with Leeds as finances proved a major stumbling block.

Hay claims that no deal will go through unless either player drops their demands.

Machuca unveiled

Alejandro Machuca has been unveiled by his new club, after leaving Leeds on loan. The under-23 star has joined Burgos of Spain’s third-tier for the upcoming season.

The attacker was signed last July from Rayo Vallecano and played a prominent role in Carlos Corberan’s team last season.

He will now hope for regular football back in Spain.

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