Nottingham Forest summer transfer target Jeremie Bela has today signed for Championship rivals Birmingham City, according to the club’s official website.
It was reported by Get French Football News during the summer that Bela had been scouted by Forest ahead of a potential swoop.
Bela played for Albacete last season and was in pretty good form. He netted 12 goals and registered two assists; despite playing largely as a left-winger.
The Blues have now swopped in to claim their man on a free transfer ahead of Forest and Nantes who had also shown previous interest.
Given that he knows where the net is, it might be a transfer that causes intrigue to the recruitment team at Forest.
Clearly there was something that put them off the signing of Bela and perhaps his woeful assist ratio during his professional career is top of that list.
In spells with Dijon, Albacete and Lens he has only regsitered six assists; which for a player renowned for operating on the flank is pretty woeful.
That said, he did reach double figures in terms of goals last season so he is clearly doing something right on that front. Whether he can maintain such prolific form in a league as demanding as the Championship remains to be seen.
When any former target joins another club there will always be an element of curiosity. Forest, however, shouldn’t worry too much about missing out on Bela.
The club is pretty well stocked on the flanks and stockpiling players isn’t the latest trend on Trentside.
Joe Lolley, Sammy Ameobi, Albert Adomah, Matty Cash and Alex Mighten are all capable of playing out wide for the Reds and Bela would have overcrowded that particular department.
Having tapped into the European market during the summer months, some Forest fans wouldn’t have been against seeing another unknown quantity coming into the club.
It is fair to say though that the vast majority of supporters are craving a couple of well-known performers, proven in the Championship, to arrive in January.
The likes of Samba Sow, Alfa Semedo, Tiago Silva, Yuri Ribeiro and Chema Rodriguez have all looked to have bits of quality since their arrival. There is no saying that Bela wouldn’t have done the same. As with the summer recruits, however, there would also have been an element of risk.
The 26-year-old has penned a three-year deal at St Andrew’s and that in itself could have put Forest off. For a player who has never kicked a ball in English football, that represents an almighty risk from a Birmingham perspective.
Only time will tell whether Forest were right not to pursue the signature of Bela more aggressively.
The cons simply outweigh the pros right now, however, and it looks a good move by the club to steer well clear.