Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest were both pretty busy during the summer transfer windows, in a bid to build squads capable of mounting a Championship promotion charge this season.
Steve Bruce’s Villa did incur financial problems early in the summer before new investment gave the Villans chief something to spend, with the former Hull City boss luring the likes of Axel Tuanzebe, John McGinn, Tammy Abraham, and Yannick Bolasie to the Midlands giants.
And Forest manager Karanka was also pretty active during the summer months in a bid to take the East Midlands heavyweights back to the top-flight, with several stars such as Joao Carvalho, Lewis Grabban, Sam Byram, and Diogo Goncalves making the move to the City Ground.
And it’s the signings of messrs Bolasie and Goncalves that are of particular interest, so let’s take a quick look at how the two compare…
The 21-year-old winger made the move to Forest back in June initially on a temporary deal but it could become a permanent one come the end of the campaign, although he hasn’t yet proved his worth to Karanka’s men.
The Portugal Under-21 international has impressed for the Benfica B team to prompt much excitement among Forest fans when he arrived, but he has so far managed just three appearances for the East Midlands heavyweights, two of which coming in the Championship.
And with both of those appearances coming in the first two games, and thus none in the last four, it appears that Goncalves’ efforts in those matches haven’t convinced manager Karanka, and as such may well have prompted doubt among some Forest supporters.
But given how highly-rated the 21-year-old is, it is surely only a matter of time before the Portuguese sensation produces the goods at the City Ground.
TT Verdict: B
Villa were seen to have pulled off quite the coup when they lured Bolasie to Villa Park during the EFL loan window, as there is little doubting that the winger could prove to be a huge asset to Bruce if he can get back near his best.
The 29-year-old struggled for form for Premier League side Everton in the second half of last season upon return from a year out with injury, netting just once in 16 league appearances for the Toffees, and on the whole looking a shadow of the player that earned a move to Goodison Park back in 2016.
But that player that shone for Crystal Palace is one that will certainly take the Championship by storm – it’s just a case of whether he can return to that form in the claret and blue of Villa.
If he does though, Bruce will have quite the asset at his disposal.
TT Verdict: A-
Both of these players arrived at their respective clubs amid much anticipation and excitement, but whether they are able to live up to those expectations remains to be seen.
Goncalves has made a slow start at Forest to call into question whether he has what it takes to succeed in the Championship, while Bolasie arrived at Villa among some doubts having failed to deliver the goods for Everton last term.
But given what the 29-year-old winger is able to do on his day, alongside his prior success in English football, it appears that Villa may well have won the battle of these two loan wingers.
Villa and Forest fans… what do you think? Let us know!