Martin O’Neill has inherited a squad who, on paper at least, are capable of finishing inside the playoffs this season, but a succession of injury problems in central defence could be his downfall in the coming weeks.
Indeed, Forest moved to bring Leicester City’s Yohan Benalouane to the club earlier this month in a bid to bolster their limited options in central defence, but he sustained a head injury against Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
That Jack Robinson, a centre-back by trade, was forced to start the game in central defence alongside Benalouane speaks volumes about the problem O’Neill is facing at this moment in time with regard to his strength in depth.
However, according to a recent report from the Daily Mirror, Forest are interested in signing West Ham United prodigy Reece Oxford, who is becoming frustrated with his lack of first-team football under Manuel Pellegrini.
Standing at 6’3″, Oxford is a commanding physical presence who could hold his own in the Championship, while his technical quality in possession of the ball suggests he has a blend of attributes which will eventually allow him to blossom into a fantastic top-flight defender, whether it be at Forest or elsewhere.
Time is running out for O’Neill to secure a deal for Oxford, but if he wants to give Forest the best possible chance of securing promotion this season he simply must go all out to secure his signature.
Oxford’s arrival would not only be game-changing in the context of Forest’s short-term promotion ambitions, but also in terms of their long-term strategy, with his potential to establish himself as a mainstay at the heart of the defence arguably representing the most appealing aspect of the mooted deal.
With the transfer window set to slam shut on Thursday evening, O’Neill must make the potentially game-changing signing of Oxford a priority for the club in the final hours of the window.
Forest fans – thoughts? Let us know below!
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