After watching his side’s promotion dream flounder in recent weeks, Aitor Karanka will be weighing up his options now that the January window has reopened for business, and a recent report hints that he is lining up a shock move for a former academy product, namely Oliver Burke.
Indeed, according to a recent report from The Sun, Celtic, Millwall, Wigan and Nottingham Forest are all interested in signing the West Brom outcast on loan this month.
Burke has become something of a forgotten man at the Hawthorns this season as his incredibly underwhelming career since leaving Nottingham Forest continues, leaving him with little choice but to pursue a move away from the club.
The fact RB Leipzig decided to part with £13 million to sign Burke from Forest in 2016 serves to underline the weight of his potential during his teenage years, and his failure to develop since he moved to Germany is both intriguing and frustrating.
But could a return to Forest provide Burke with the mental clarity he needs to blossom into the player many expected him to become? There’s no doubt that moving abroad at such a young age is not the right move for everyone, even if the likes of Jadon Sancho and Reiss Nelson are making the Bundesliga appear like a stroll in the park, and a return to a familiar environment in which he once thrived within could be the right move for Burke at this moment in time.
Sometimes it’s the feelings of nostalgia, belonging and appreciation from the supporters which can transform the form of players in the midst of a rut. Forest fans will remember the electric, dynamic and fearless teenager with fondness and expectation, and those memories should ensure a warm welcome if Burke eventually decides to return.
On paper re-signing Burke (valued at £9 million by Transfermarkt) represents a risk for Karanka but with pressure mounting on his shoulders a January gamble could well provide an unlikely spark to help him win over his doubters at the City Ground.
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