Nottingham Forest supporters have been in fine voice in recent times after seeing their side record a fourth Championship victory of the season at the weekend.
Aitor Karanka’s men went into their clash with high-flying Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium off the back drawing with both Millwall and Blackburn Rovers in their preceding two games, albeit still having only lost once so far this term. And they made it six games unbeaten on Saturday as goals from Joe Lolley and Lewis Grabban in the second half sealed a 2-0 success for the East Midlands giants, thus moving them up to fifth place in the Championship table.
Thus, there have been many thrilled Forest fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are hoping that their team will improve even more as the season wears on given how busy they were during the summer transfer window.
After all, the Forest hierarchy have earned much praise for the business they conducted during the close season, like they did when they sold winger Michail Antonio to Premier League side West Ham for £8.55 million (as per Transfermarkt) back in the summer of 2015.
And in making a £6.85 million profit on the 28-year-old, having spent just £1.7 million (as per Transfermarkt) on him a year earlier, the club deserve huge credit for striking the deal, yet one can’t help but feel, given how good Antonio has since been in East London, that they could have got so much more for the winger.
Ultimately, the East Midlands heavyweights sealed a relatively cheap deal for Antonio back in the summer of 2014 following his short spell at Sheffield Wednesday, but in his one full season at the City Ground, he more than proved his worth with several impressive displays.
The Englishman finished the 2014/15 campaign with a staggering 14 goals and 14 assists to his name for the Reds in 46 Championship appearances, helping the club to a 14th place finish in the second tier, and unsurprisingly earning him the club’s Player of the Season award for his endeavours.
In fact, to this day it still remains his best season in front of goal to underline just how prolific and impressive he was in the final third of the pitch for Forest, and he even started the 2015/16 season well as well in netting four goals and laying on one assist in just five appearances prior to his move to West Ham.
Ultimately, form like that in the notoriously difficult Championship was never likely to go unnoticed, and while £8.55 million for a second tier player certainly represented good business, the fact that Antonio has continued to improve post-Forest suggests that they could have held out for more.
The 28-year-old has scored 22 goals and laid on 11 assists in 99 appearances for the Hammers in the last three years, nine goals of which coming in his first season at the club in their run to seventh place in the Premier League, and then nine coming the campaign after in their first season at the London Stadium.
In fact, such were the Hammers’ struggles in their new ground, the contributions of Antonio, netting nine times and laying on five assists over the course of the season, were absolutely vital in them staving off relegation – clearly, he became a crucial West Ham player very quickly indeed.
Thus, while the Forest hierarchy cannot scoff at the profit they made on the winger, his continued rise, certainly in the immediate aftermath of leaving the City Ground, suggests that they could have got so much more for the 28-year-old.
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