When Nottingham Forest landed Claudio Yacob in September 2018 it was seen by many as the sort of free transfer that would ignite a push towards promotion.
The combative performer has two Argentina caps to his name and it’s fair to say those aren’t brandished around without purpose.
There is an apparent notion that certain clubs simply suit certain players. With 14 months under his belt at Nottingham Forest, it is crystal clear that Yacob isn’t the right fit for the Reds.
A player with over 100 Premier League appearances should be right for the club. He should be right for any club who has any ambitions to climb the Championship and reach the promised land of the Premier League.
The City Ground just hasn’t proved a successful chapter in the career of Yacob.
This time last year, the 32-year-old was a mainstay in the Forest team. He, along with Jack Colback were the two trusted as the midfield pairing under Karanka, who had just got his side edging towards the top-six of the Championship.
When Forest were struggling with a crisis at centre-back around the turn of the year, it was Yacob who showed his professionalism by plugging a gap in the back four.
When Karanka was sacked and replaced with Martin O’Neill, it appeared Yacob would remain important. In the Irishman’s first game in charge at home to Bristol City, the Argentine wore the captain’s armband.
After that game though he quickly fell out of favour. The emergence of Ryan Yates meant that he played just 111 minutes of football during the last three months of the 2018/19 campaign.
O’Neill’s departure meant that supporters anticipated a clean slate for Yacob. Bizarrely, he featured quite often during pre-season but hasn’t made a squad under Sabri Lamouchi this season. These days he doesn’t even train alongside the first-team.
The decline of the former Baggies performer is a curious one, to say the least. It seems almost telling that two managers have deemed him incapable of having an impact on proceedings.
On paper, Yacob should be among the best performers in his position in the whole of the Championship. His face just simply hasn’t quite fit at the City Ground, however.
The form of Ben Watson probably hasn’t helped his cause for game time. The ex-Watford man has been class this season and since losing his place to Yacob last season, his attitude has been spot on.
At 32, the midfielder’s next move will probably be his last. His contract with Forest is up in the summer but the January transfer window will surely see the club look to be pro-active in trying to offload the outcast.
Nobody will truly know why Yacob has quite cut the mustard at Forest and when he does leave it won’t raise too many eyebrows among the supporters.
A signing that promised so much will ultimately go down as curious, intriguing and disappointing to those of a Forest persuasion.