Stick or twist at the City Ground? 
A general view inside of Nottingham Forest's City Ground stadium 
Photo by Laurence Griffiths via Getty Images 

Despite the general consensus that Nottingham Forest would be battling at the top end of the Sky Bet Championship table this season, it's clear that the revolving door transfer policy at Forest, with a catalogue of ins and outs every window - has finally effected the Reds. With that being said, 12 players (including both loans and permanent) are out of contract this summer. So who should Chris Hughton look to renew, recall for a potential second loan, and ultimately, show the exit door to? In order to trim the Forest squad and ensure that a tighter knit group pushes the club into a position that matches the ambition of the fans and Greek oligarch owner - Evangelos Marinakis

Abdoulaye Diallo 

The Senegalese shot-stopper was never brought to the City Ground to replace Brice Samba as number one, however, he is yet to make a first-team appearance for the Reds, in all competitions.

Former manager Sabri Lamouchi made the decision to sign the six foot three keeper - rekindling the pairs relationship from their time at Stade Rennais, but it seems impossible he will appear in Hughton's plans for the 2021/22 season. That thesis leaves Diallo available to clubs for free this summer, and with first-team football on his mind, it's a decision that will benefit both parties. 

Michael Dawson 

At 37, Dawson now appears more on Sky Sports' Gillette Soccer Saturday programme, or elsewhere as a pundit rather than donning the famous Garibaldi red. 

Dawson will leave the club this summer as a player held in high regard by fans, however, it would be a nonsensical decision to keep him within the squad, given his minutes contribution over the past two seasons, his age, and his potential to work within the coaching side of proceedings - due to his leadership qualities and respect he's commanded since re-joining the Reds in 2018. 

Michael Hefele 

Unfortunately for the charismatic Hefele, things haven't worked out on Trentside since his switch from Huddersfield Town in the summer of 2018. 

The towering German defender has only made 18 appearances for the club, with the last of those coming over two years ago, in a 4-2 victory over Leeds United on New Year's Day 2019. 

After a lengthy spell without first-team action, the defender is likely to have to drop a division in English football or seek a move abroad in order to gain the required minutes that will reignite his career. 

Yuri Ribeiro 

Last summer, Ribeiro displayed his commitment to Forest after being almost pushed out of the door by the hierarchy. One year on, the left-back hasn't received the minutes that his ability requires. 

There is no doubt Ribeiro has quality, but Hughton has often favoured former Brighton & Hove Albion comrade Gaetan Bong, or more recently, Tyler Blackett over the Portuguese international. 

With just months remaining on his contract, unless the tide turns in the remaining matches it seems unlikely Ribeiro will renew his contract with the club - which seems disappointing given the potential he has to further grow into an attacking full-back for the Reds

Samba Sow 

Few Forest supporters can question Sow's desire when he steps over the white line, the defensive midfielder certainly showcased his bullish strength, tough tackling and great protecting of the defence since joining the club in 2019. 

One underlying weakness that is seemingly hard to dismiss, is the recurring trips that Sow makes to the treatment table. His inconsistent presence within the first-team through injury has surely played a part in why a contract hasn't been presented his way, and at 31-years-old, it seems likely that Sow has played his last game in the Garibaldi. 

Sammy Ameobi 

Ameobi has been a consistent figure in the Forest first-team this campaign and the 28-year-old should be afforded the time to impress for at least another season.

On face value, the wingers 10 assists and eight goals across his 77 league appearances - since joining from Bolton Wanderers, doesn't seem outstanding, however, Ameobi's unconventional style has often dumbfounded the opposition. Whether or not he's a key figure once again next season, a place on the bench should a minimum for Ameobi. 

Glenn Murray 

After joining the club in January on a short term deal from Brighton & Hove Albion, Murray has proved the narrative 'age is just a number' to be correct. 

The striker joined to bolster Forest's attacking arsenal and his hold up play, aerial presence, as well as his return of two goals has proved to be a shrewd piece of business, given the club acquired him on a free transfer to link back up with Hughton. 

With that being said, Murray does turn 38 in late September and it wouldn't be a logical decision to extend the frontman's term at the City Ground past the summer months, with younger options available on the market. 

In addition, Murray himself has a decision to make. Although he's shown no signs of letting up, with little time left in the game, the striker is likely to favour dropping a level or joining another Championship club to fulfil his playing needs, in what you'd expect to be his final season in professional football. 

Loan players 

Cyrus Christie 

Christie has been like marmite among the Forest fan base this season, with a contingent of fans unimpressed by his defensive capabilities, compared to others that value his work rate down the right flank and crossing ability.

The Irish international has appeared in 38 of Forest's 40 Championship games thus far, however, it remains to be seen whether Hughton will look to make Christie's loan a permanent one this summer. 

The right-back has a market value of £1-1.5 million, so at an affordable price Forest could look to bring a familiar face back permanently. With that being said, the inconsistency's showcased at times, does highlight that other options may well be viable for the Reds

James Garner 

To say that Forest must do all they can to get Garner back playing his football on the banks of the Trent, for a second loan spell, would be an understatement. 

The 20-year-old Manchester United loanee has been the Reds’ best player in the second-half of the campaign, since having his Watford loan terminated to join Forest in January. 

Although his primary role is to sit in a pivot in front of the defence, Garner can play further forward in central midfield and his fantastic passing range, vision to play the ball between the lines, as well as, long distance shooting ability are just four reasons on a long list of why they should be snapping at the bit to get Garner back at the club on loan this summer. 

There will undoubtedly be Premier League and fellow Championship outfits that are interested in the youthful Red Devils prospect on loan, however, the midfielder is seemingly enjoying his time at the club and would be a vital cog in Forest's squad next season, should they pull it off. 

Unfortunately, the decision will fall at the player himself and his parent club's feet, but Forest can show eagerness and hope they're a likely candidate. 

Filip Krovinovic 

In the January transfer window, Forest were crying out for an attacking midfielder that could transition play from midfield to attack, show some flair and beat a man when needed. 

Krovinovic, who was fresh off the back of a promotion to the Premier League with West Bromwich Albion last term, did just that following his arrival in Nottingham. 

The Croatian was impressive for Slavan Bilic last campaign and has mirrored that this season for Forest, therefore meaning the club should do all they can, to not only swoop in on loan once more - but make Krovinovic's deal a permanent one. 

The 25-year-old still has plenty of time to develop further and could be a great addition to the squad if he joined from Benfica this summer. 

It would also serve as a great move for the player, after spending the past two years getting to know the second tier of English football. 

Anthony Knockaert 

Knockaert serves up a strange one. Despite the ability that the French winger possesses, should Forest look to make his loan a permanent deal, it would cost a hefty fee to acquire him from Fulham

The Cottagers paid a staggering £11million last summer, before loaning him to the Reds. Despite the obvious mistake made by Fulham to cough up that fee, they will want to make as much of that back as possible - which serves as a stumbling block in the move. 

It's also important to note that Knockaert's wages alongside the fee required would eat into Forest's summer transfer kitty. 

The performances that Knockaert has put in during his time on Trentside haven't matched his poor looking stats he's accumulated across the season, with his delivery and sharp dribbling often not being rewarded by the frontmen. 

Luke Freeman 

When Sheffield United sent Freeman over to join Forest on a season long loan, it got fans excited and quite rightly so, after the midfielder previously lit up the Championship for QPR

Unfortunately, for Forest, Freeman and Sheffield United - the move hasn't gone to plan and the Reds would be foolish to pay a fee for the inconsistent midfielder. 

There is a great player in Freeman, and as a versatile wide or attacking midfielder, he will surely find his feet in the Championship once again. However, that will be with the Blades next season upon his return, or for another side after a potential reshuffle at Bramall Lane. 

 

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