Nottingham Forest manager Martin O’Neill has made it clear that he is looking to sign a new striker, according to the Nottingham Post.
However, amid a huge amount of speculation, there haven’t been too many reports linking the Reds with a frontman. This is something you’d expect to change before tomorrow evening.
Speaking after the win against Wigan at the weekend, O’Neill hinted that he could try playing two strikers again in the future. He played Lewis Grabban and Daryl Murphy upfront together against Bristol City, but opted to play Murphy as a lone striker against Wigan.
He told BBC Radio Nottingham: “I’m trying to find out as much as I can. I wasn’t sure if the two upfront at the time worked, but it isn’t to say we won’t do that again.
“The idea on that particular day was to enthuse the crowd and get everybody going. I’m not out here to worry about surprising people.”
If O’Neill does switch formations between now and the end of the season, the Reds clearly need reinforcements upfront. Grabban and Murphy are currently the only available options. Hillal Soudani continues to recover from his long-term injury whilst Karim Ansarifard is away at the Asian Cup.
As tomorrow’s transfer deadline continues to rapidly approach, Seat Pitch has taken a look at four strikers who the Reds could look to sign.
The striker who has been most recently linked with the Reds is Sam Gallagher. According to Alan Nixon of The Sun, O’Neill is keen on bringing the 23-year-old Southampton forward on loan to the City Ground. The 6ft 4in frontman does have previous Championship experience from his loan spells at Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City.
SOUTHAMPTON. Bit of a dilemma. Trying to move out Austin. Meanwhile FOREST and SWANSEA make surprise loan requests for Gallagher.
— Alan Nixon (@reluctantnicko) January 30, 2019
Despite their struggles in the Premier League this season, Gallagher has only managed three first team appearances for the Saints. Therefore, it’s clear to see why they may allow him to leave on loan. Swansea City are also said to be interested. The main question surrounding Gallagher is whether he is a step-up from O’Neill’s current forwards? Perhaps not, but he would provide another option for the remainder of the season.
Sticking with Southampton, Charlie Austin also appears to be on the move. According to The Sun, Ralph Hasenhuttl is willing to let the 29-year-old striker leave before tomorrow’s deadline. There’s no doubt that signing a player such as Austin would generate huge excitement at the City Ground. His goalscoring record at this level speaks for itself.
However, at this moment in time, Stoke City and Blackburn look to be his more likely destinations. Surely the Reds would be able to rival these two sides for his signature? There has been speculation that the Saints would only be willing to allow one of either Gallagher or Austin to leave. Given the choice, it’s fair to say that supporters would rather see Austin arrive due to his proven goalscoring record.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the speculation that Britt Assombalonga’s time at Middlesbrough is coming to an end has sparked a debate about whether he would be worth looking at. There have been no reports suggesting that this is the case. However, due to his previous success at the City Ground, it’s easy to see why some supporters would be keen to see him make a return.
According to the Gazette, Blackburn, Aston Villa and Bristol City are all interested in the 26-year-old striker who joined Boro from Forest for £15 million in July 2017. It’s likely that Boro would want to recoup majority of that money back if they were to sell. Therefore, it seems likely that if Assombalonga is to leave, it’s more likely to be on loan. Even then, his significant wages will be an issue to majority of the sides interested. It’s arguably wise for the Reds to stay well clear and focus on other options.
According to the Express & Star, 29-year-old Aston Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia is a target for Ligue 1 side Angers. However, recent comments from Dean Smith have suggested that Kodjia is more likely to stay at Villa Park for the remainder of the season at least.
He told the Birmingham Mail: “He is second top scorer at the club and there is no reason we would be looking for Jonathan to leave.
“He has been the one who would come in for Tammy Abraham and he has played wide left for us as well.”
Despite these comments, the West Midlands outfit are reportedly interested in both Austin and Assombalonga. If they signed either of those forwards, surely Kodjia would find himself down the pecking order. This is certainly a situation worth keeping an eye on as Kodjia may surprisingly become available if other deals are finalised.