Costel Pantilimon, Arijanet Muric, A. N. Other – who will be Nottingham Forest’s first-choice goalkeeper for the 2019-20 campaign?

And looking even further into the future, who will take the gloves beyond the end of next season?

The first name on the team sheet has, in truth, been an issue for some time.

In fairness to Pantilimon, he can hardly be considered a flop.

An impressive tally of 15 clean sheets in 2018-19 suggests that he is doing plenty right.

Questions are, however, never far away from the towering Romanian.

Command of his box and balls in the air, for someone who stands 6ft 8in tall, are still issues.

Distribution has improved, but remains a work in progress.

That has sparked talk of another option being brought in.

There is no suggestion that Pantilimon will be dumped down the pecking order, but he could face more competition.


(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Luke Steele has not convinced in the sporadic minutes he has seen, so the slate may be wiped clean.

Martin O’Neill said in the Nottingham Post after a 1-0 victory over Bolton on the final day of the season in which Steele started: “It was very much a case of us just wanting to look at our goalkeeping options.

“Pantilimon saved the penalty at QPR, to keep our run going. From that point of view, it helped us to get the away victory that we were looking for.

“But I also just wanted to see Luke play. He played against Sheffield Wednesday and we just wanted to have another look at him.”

O’Neill offered no indication as to the conclusions he had drawn.

Was his mind made up at that point to seek out a new No. 1?

Or at least another back-up?

Speculation, such as that in the Nottingham Post, suggests that the Reds boss has a target in his sights.

Muric is that man.


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A languid presence who has graced the books at Manchester City – why does that ring a bell?

At 20 years of age and with senior international experience with Kosovo to his name, Muric may be a useful option.

Pep Guardiola has given him League Cup minutes, and he is pretty decent judge of talent.

Forest would, however, be putting a loan deal in place.

Most likely a season-long agreement.

So, Muric comes in, potentially plays a leading role in a productive campaign and then departs.

Or he picks splinters out of his backside on the bench while Pantilimon retains starting duties.

Either way, long-term solutions are not being found to a long-standing poser.

O’Neill may have faith in Pantilimon, who is tied to a contract through to 2021.

If he doesn’t, though, then a reliable successor for the present and future would be preferable.

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