Do Nottingham Forest’s links to Brice Samba mean that they are already looking to nudge Arijanet Muric down the goalkeeping pecking order?
The 2019-20 campaign is just one game old, but plenty of early questions have emerged at the City Ground.
One of those comes between the sticks.
Muric has been acquired on a season-long loan from Manchester City and arrived with bags of potential.
He is, however, just 20 years of age and has much to learn.
Unfortunately for him, that has become clear on a competitive stage – with two costly errors made in a 2-1 defeat to West Brom.
It has been suggested that he may not be ready for life as a No.1 just yet.
The counter argument to that is that he will only improve with regular game time and needs faith and trust to be shown.
Will he get that on Trentside?
Talk of Samba arriving from Caen has sent the rumour mill back into overdrive.
Fabrice Clement, president of the French club Forest are reportedly looking to do business with, has told Actu: “As of today there is no definitive thing for Brice Samba. Are there contacts? Obviously. With him as with others.
“The English transfer window ends Thursday. I thought I saw two things move through other clubs.”
If a deal is done before the summer deadline passes, then Samba would come into contention for a trip to Leeds on Saturday.
Elland Road would represent the deepest of Championship deep ends for a rookie debutant.
Muric, though, hardly boasts the experience to add weight to his claims for a starting berth.
He is in charge of the gloves for now, but for how long?
Reds legend Kenny Burns has said in the Nottingham Post: “If [Samba] does complete a deal, that’ll leave Sabri Lamouchi with five goalkeepers as the City Ground squad gets bigger and bigger.
“Costel Pantilimon seems massively out of favour, Luke Steele has been told to find the door and one moment Jordan Smith can’t get a game at Mansfield and now he’s on the bench against West Brom.
“Is Samba coming to sit on the bench?
“I very much doubt it, and I’m not sure Manchester City will be too keen on having their highly-rated youngster on it either, so something is surely going to have to give.”
Pep Guardiola probably would not take too kindly to seeing Muric dumped after 90 minutes.
Forest, though, are not in a position to cater to the demands of others.
They have to look out for number one (in more ways than one!).
Samba has been mooted as a target for a couple of weeks now – since before the season started – so it may be that an experienced shot-stopper has been the preference all along.
Perhaps the process has merely taken longer than anticipated.
It will, however, be interesting to see what approach is taken at Leeds if more bodies are brought on board, with Forest seemingly in the market for starters and competition from back to front.