With several new signings expected to be announced before the start of the season, are Nottingham Forest quietly putting the final pieces of the jigsaw together?


Billy Davies again called for patience on Monday as Forest attempt to add further players to the squad before the season starts. The transfer window may have another six or so weeks before it closes (and then the loan window) but even Davies must be getting hot under the collar as new arrivals will miss out on his all-important pre-season training.

Davies said: “We’re making extremely good offers and we’re certainly not chasing unrealistic targets. We know that there will be other negotiations for other players that will take a bit of time but there is a great effort here to conclude deals very quickly.

“All we can do is continue to ask the question and continue to put what we feel are very good offers into these clubs. Anybody that suggests that these targets are not possible are looking in the wrong direction. We’ll keep doing what we can to convince other clubs that we mean to do some sensible business and we’ll keep trying to bring players to this football club.”

But, with East Midlands Today reporting on Friday that four players are in the final stages of signing, maybe we’re almost there. The six additions – Jack Hobbs, Dorus de Vries, Gonzalo Jara Reyes, Darius Henderson, Jamie Paterson and Eric Lichaj – leave the obvious vacancies of central midfielder, winger and striker.

There’s been much talk of a record-breaking transfer, the ‘marquee signing’ Fawaz clearly craves, but whether the talk, targets and/or money are realistic we don’t know as yet. A big sponsorship deal would boost their chances of making a dent in the football betting odds but, as it stands, Forest’s £1.6m three-year deal with Capital One remains one of the largest ever struck by a Football League club.

Billy Sharp doesn’t appear to be on the wanted list although none of the other strikers appear to be particularly close – that said, the secrecy under which the City Ground is operating this summer means that a name such as Rafik Djebbour could again spring from nowhere. Charlie Austin, Gary Hooper, Jacob Mulenga, etc. have all been linked but the game-playing during the transfer window mean we might just have enquired; the clubs could be advertising their availability; or the players’ agents might trying to push through a deal or new contract at their existing club.

The need for pace and width has been obvious for some time. The arrival of Stephen McLaughlin in January was a step in the right direction but he has clearly required time with the development squad. Paterson, on the other hand, is exactly the kind of forward we need – hopefully he can adapt quickly to the Championship. It’s believed we enquired about Mustapha Carayol but it seems Davies is still after another winger with the likes of Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Djamel Abdoun linked.

And while the bids for Grant Leadbitter have surprised some, it’s clear that we need some bite in midfield: an organiser, a tackler… A player such as Leadbitter — Reading’s Mikele Leigertwood has also been rumoured — alongside Guedioura would strengthen the centre of the team and protect the defence. When the diamond worked well last season it was devastating, but when it went wrong teams just waltzed through the centre. And Mahmoud Hassan and Jason Holt could still add something to the midfield.

The addition of Jack Hobbs should add assurance and experience at the back — possibly ending the pursuit of Wes Morgan? And with another name joining the defence of Chris Cohen (assuming he’s staying at left-back), Dan Harding, Danny Collins, Jamaal Lascelles, Greg Harding, Gonzalo Jara and Lichaj — eight well-established players — the back four permutations are pretty sturdy.

How Davies lines up his team for the coming season remains to be seen but a variation of 4-2-3-1/4-5-1/4-3-3 would give solidity in midfield, width and pace on the wings and striking options up front. Who gives way will be intriguing but it’s a squad game and Davies has always been keen on two players for every position — something we might already have if certain members of the existing squad are brought in from the cold.

The game against Huddersfield is now only just over two weeks away — the transfer window might close on 2 September but if the Reds are going to start strongly Davies will want as many players as he can in before the start of the season. The loan window will present further options but only after the Premier League clubs name their 25-man squads after the summer deadline.

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