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False hope? Or a real time of optimism?

Saturday 2nd July 2011
Prior to the sacking of Billy Davies, there was two weeks of silence from the club. The thought of players wanting to sign for Forest seemed a rather distant possibility. Now, after a week or so of McClaren attempting to get his backroom staff together (no concrete success as yet regarding an assistant manager being appointed, just circulating rumours about a return for Colin Calderwood, although he appears to be heading for Birmingham), the transfer rumours are finally rolling in.

Obviously, the topic of transfer policy was widely documented in Davies' time as manager and was the source of conflict and possibly his eventual dismissal. The issue of whether Davies was backed by the club's Chairman Nigel Doughty and the infamous Acquisition Panel, is one still debated today by Forest fans. Personally, I think he was backed. He received £5million for 9 signings in his first summer, had 3 Premier League left backs on loan in the shape of Nicky Shorey, Ryan Bertrand and Paul Konchesky, as well as other expensive loan deals like George and Kris Boyd, in addition to converting Marcus Tudgay's and Radi Majewski's loans into permanent deals. Obviously, with the 'stellar signings' Davies had called for we could be planning for the Premier League at the moment, but thats easy to say with hindsight.

But now, the decision of which men to bring into the team lies, hopefully, with Steve McClaren. Over the past few days he has reiterated the talent in the Forest ranks already, but says the team needs experience. I agree with this, especially as the two men Billy Davies described as the ‘wise heads', Paul McKenna and Dele Adebola head north to join Hull City. I refuse to go into detail about the unrealistic and unlikely rumours that circulate on message boards and forums. There is no way, as far as I'm concerned that the likes of Michael Owen, Owen Hargreaves, Jermaine Jenas or Tom Huddlestone are coming to Forest in any playing capacity. They are, in my book, ridiculous and highly improbable signings. So then, let's have a closer look at the more realistic transfer stories of the past fortnight or so.

Jonathan Greening

There was apparently an attempt by Forest to bring the Fulham midfielder in on loan in January of last season, but it didn't materialise, and over summer, interest for the 32 year old has sparked up once more. However, the fact attempts were made in January and new links made in June show he was a Billy Davies target. Greening had a decent run of games for Fulham towards the end of the season and made a few good quality assists. McClaren had Greening in his time as Manchester United's assistant manager and took him to Middlesborough, so Greening could yet re-emerge as a target and could be an experienced face that Forest need.
David Goodwillie

It was reported this week that Dundee United and Scotland striker David Goodwillie is a target for Forest, and McClaren is said to be a fan of him. Goodwillie has scored 35 goals in 130 games for United, including 19 goals in 46 appearances last season. While the 22 year old has a bit of a reputation, with a couple of assault charges and a court date regarding an accused rape on the way soon, he undoubtedly scores goals, something Forest crave. However, Forest face competition for the SPL's Young Player of the Year from Cardiff City and Rangers, who have made an official bid for Goodwillie that has been rejected by Dundee.
Giles Barnes

This has been the rumour that has gathered the most momentum and of all the rumours and is probably the most likely first signing. McClaren's interest in the out of contract former Forest trainee was first reported in the press but was even confirmed on the official Forest site, something that's very rare. Forest have offered Barnes a contract after his release from West Brom. Barnes had a bright future ahead of him after a successful time at Derby County that prompted The Baggies to shell out £4 million for the 22 year old. However, Barnes has been plagued with a series of serious injuries. There is certainly an element of risk with Barnes, but if, and that's a big if, he can stay fit, he'd be a good addition to the Forest squad.
Nicky Maynard

Lots of clubs have been chasing Bristol City forward Nicky Maynard, most notably, Leicester City and Forest. Maynard has netted 37 times in 97 games for City since his £2.25 million from Crewe Alexandra. Obviously, a forward who has a scoring record as prolific is hot property and something Forest missed last season. City have rejected a bid of around £3 million from Leicester, who are still likely to pursue Maynard, despite having a bid accepted for Craig Mackail-Smith in an all-out attempt to get promoted. Despite having only one year left on his contract, City have slapped a £5million price tag on their man, but surely they'd rather cash in now than let him leave on a free. Forest definitely won't spend £5million, but my idea would be a player (McGoldrick preferably) plus cash deal. (I tweeted this idea, and now the guardian are reporting it, good guess eh?) One thing is certain, he'd be a terrific signing.
Wayne Routledge

Another name making the rounds in the newspapers, and if the rumours are to be believed, the winger has been offered to a number of clubs by Newcastle United. Word is Routledge has apparently rejected a permanent return to Queens Park Rangers, but is attracting interest from his former manager Chris Hughton at Birmingham City. However, reports are that Routledge will choose Forest instead. If true, that would be great. He's a quality player at this level and would be a huge improvement on the wingers we have at the moment. Also, the fee is only around £1million, which is a bit of a bargain.
Karim El Ahmadi

Don't know too much about this guy I'm afraid as he plays abroad. He's played for FC Twente (McClaren's old team) and was sold to Feyenoord for 5 million Euros. He's also spent time on loan in UAE and has 8 caps for Morocco. He is a defensive midfielder and could be a possible replacement for the departing Paul McKenna and Guy Moussi if he doesn't sign a new deal. Feyenoord reportedly want to offload him, with McClaren familiar with his abilities after spending time in the Dutch league. This was reported in the Dutch media, so might have a bit more weight behind it than British stories. Could be one to watch out for. He is pictured on the right of the photo.
Obviously, the names mentioned are by no means definite, but I think all of them would be great additions. Other names I haven't featured include Keith Andrews from Blackburn Rovers (reported £2million bid to be made by Forest to add some experience). Personally, I think that money could be better spent elsewhere, and I would rather have El Ahmadi. Another is former red Andy Reid, who we know is available on a free. Ashley Westwood, an up and coming Crewe Alexandra youngster has also been mentioned. Preston North End's Keith Treacy has also been labelled as hot property. The 22 year old Republic of Ireland international is a creative winger whose future lies away from relegated North End. Again, Forest will have to fend off interest from alot of Championship rivals, but would be a brilliant addition at left wing. There have been no real stories about Forests key position, left back. There were early mutterings of Nicky Shorey returning, but he is no longer thought to be a target, and it is unlikely Forest will land Bertrand, as he will opt for a Premier League club.

Overall, we Forest fans are used to repeating rumours with no background behind them (Whittingham and Pratley most notably over recent years), so obviously fans are sceptical. However, I don't think McClaren would come to a Championship team that didn't have a decent budget, so therefore, I think that hopefully, Forest have some bright times ahead, if they get their act together and move quickly this summer.

Written by James Bolton. Follow me on Twitter - @Bolton0301
James Bolton

Total articles: 29

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