When talking about Nottingham Forest’s best player this season, Joe Lolley is likely to be at the top of many fans’ list.
With six goals and seven assists in the Championship, the winger has produced some breathtaking performances worthy of all the praise that he has received.
However, with these performances, a lot of interest from clubs in England arose, particularly some Premier League clubs. It seemed unlikely that he would go at first, particularly as he was one of the focal points in a team that had promotion aspirations. He was under a manager in Aitor Karanka that had signed him and had shown a lot of faith in him. He was given free rein to perform how he wished, and both Lolley and Forest benefited.
However, with Karanka’s recent departure from The Reds, the club may have lost the main force that kept Lolley at the City Ground. New manager Martin O’Neill will certainly not drop him, but the dynamic at the club will now be different.
The Northern Irishman is perhaps more defensive than Karanka, and Lolley as a consequence may struggle to make such an impact. He clearly suited Karanka’s style, and owed him a lot, but he would surely opt now to go to a better club than see if he suits the new manager.
Karanka was building something at Nottingham Forest, and Lolley was a cornerstone of that. Whether he wants to be part of the new era with O’Neill is yet to be seen, but no one would blame him if he wants to move on to a new challenge.