Joe Lolley is yet to hit the heights expected of him at Nottingham Forest in 2019-20, with Colin Barrett telling Seat Pitch that summer transfer talk has taken a while to shake.
With 11 goals and as many assists recorded last season, the 27-year-old has seen his stock rise considerably.
As a boyhood Aston Villa supporter, speculation started doing the rounds the moment the Villans secured promotion to the Premier League.
Unwelcome rumours lingered for longer than many would have liked, but were eventually seen off.
As deadlines passed, Lolley was freed to focus on matters at the City Ground.
Only he can say how far his head was turned, but he is still looking for a spark in the current campaign.
European Cup-winning hero Barrett is confident that Lolley will be fine, telling Seat Pitch of a man who found himself on the bench for a trip to Swansea: “I said the other day that I don’t think Joe is firing on all cylinders yet but I’m sure it’s to come.
“But what he can give you is that he goes past people, and that’s what you want, that’s what gets bums off seats. It makes defenders frightened to engage with him because he’s quite capable of going past you inside and outside. He likes to have a shot and he likes to get goals.
“He was obviously left out of the side on Saturday, it won’t do him any harm, it’s a long season and I think he’ll come back stronger for it.”
On the impact of the regular rounds of rumours, Barrett added: “What’s happened to Joe Lolley in the close season, as much as anything, there has been such a lot of speculation about players leaving the club and I think Joe was one of those that everybody thought, at the end of the season, clubs would come sniffing for.
“The fact that he probably thought he could be on his way might have had some affect. But now that the season has started, the transfer window is shut, now I think you’ll see the best of Joe Lolley. He’s another vital cog in the wheel. He’s an exciting player when he’s on song.”
Lolley certainly is that and has enough credit in the bank to be afforded a bit of patience.
He will know better than anybody that he is capable of much more than he has shown over recent weeks and that one performance is all it takes to get back in the groove.
After all, there ain’t nobody like Joe!