When Nottingham Forest parted with a club-record £13.2 million to sign Portuguese starlet Joao Carvalho, it is fair to say that it raised eyebrows among the club’s supporters.
The 22-year-old arrived on Trentside having made 10 appearances for Benfica, including one against FC Basle in the Champions League.
As an unknown quantity and given the astronomical price tag some supporters were perhaps right to meet Carvalho’s arrival with an air of suspicion.
Forest have signed some real dross from overseas certainly in recent seasons and some cynics feared Carvalho might be an expensive flop.
That hasn’t been the case though and during his first season in English football, the Portuguese magician got better in every game he played.
In 38 games he contributed four goals and registered eight assists. Under Martin O’Neill, he found himself largely used as a substitute and 28 of his appearances came in the starting eleven.
The fact that the Northern Irishman chose to oust him from the first-team was comical in hindsight. Supporters spent the majority of the games under O’Neill singing about a player who more often than not was sat on the bench.
The vast majority of the City Ground support warmed to Carvalho quickly and recognised the undoubted quality he brings to the Forest team.
In the space of just five months between the end of last season and right now, however, the youngster is under fire from some supporters.
You have to feel a bit sorry for him. An ankle injury sustained in the first pre-season game against Alfreton Town meant that he would miss the entire close season.
Carvalho has been forced to get himself fit by playing games and naturally there have been some teething problems. That said, he did notch on his first game back against Derby in the Carabao Cup.
People need to get off his back and strip away the valuation that was placed on such a young player’s head. Carvalho didn’t choose to be worth over £13 million and people need to stop holding that against him.
The 22-year-old has just one assist this season in the Championship but as a confidence player, Carvalho needs love from the City Ground faithful, not discontented moans and groans.
Creative players, in general, are confidence players. Supporters must realise that players boasting high levels of flamboyance and flair will make mistakes. That’s football and it happens with lots of players who are worth far more money that Carvalho.
The man with six goals in 20 caps for the Portugal under-21 outfit hasn’t become a bad player overnight and he will get back to his very best form with the more games he plays.
Patience and understanding are required and Carvalho needs helping back to the promising form he showed more often than not last season.
The cynics need to forget the £13.2 million price tag, it hasn’t come out of their pockets and it must be remembered that Carvalho is still young.
On his day he is one of the most technically gifted players in the league and when he does get going again, the Championship had better watch out.