It is no secret that Nottingham Forest are looking to buy a striker in the summer and it seems they’ll definitely have the future in mind when they do.
When manager Chris Hughton was asked about finding the next Teemu Pukki or Ivan Toney, he very much confirmed that he was looking to find someone in that mould.
“They are the type of finds that you want,” Hughton said to The Athletic. “Every manager wants to have a No 9 who scores the amount of goals they do.”
The article also confirmed that Forest will be after a striker, which makes you wonder who Forest will move for.
Here are three strikers who could very much be in the frame, given all three have been linked with the club under Hughton’s tenure.
The Plymouth Argyle man is very much in demand and it seems his exploits have caught the eye of Forest as well, with the club linked with a move in January.
21-year-old Jephcott has 18 goals in 41 games this season in all competitions – 16 in 36 in League One – and his form has attracted a lot of Championship attention.
It is believed that fee of at least £3.5m will be needed to prise Jephcott away from Home Park and there could well be a bidding war this summer.
However, given Forest have established a good relationship with Plymouth in relation to Tyrese Fornah, who is on loan from Forest to Argyle and has done very well, something could be struck.
It’s possible that Will Swan could be used as a makeweight and sent out on loan to replace Jephcott if Forest were to sign him.
It’s also possible that Fornah could spend a second year on loan in Devon as a sweetener for the deal.
In any case, Plymouth will want a quick fix as Jephcott’s form has nosedived since the speculation started to heat up.
The Welsh striker hasn’t scored in his last 14 games – a run stretching back to early February – and has been playing poorly, with his WhoScored rating in those games averaging in the low 6s.
It could be a case of a young player going through a rough patch of inconsistency or it could be the speculation, but in any case, Plymouth will want this resolved soon.
Another League One talent that has been linked with Forest – this one much more recently – is Blackpool’s Jerry Yates.
Yates has 20 goals in 43 appearances this season for the Seasiders, with 18 of those coming in 36 League One games.
This one is slightly more complicated as the 24-year-old – who has also played a few games on the left – could well spearhead Blackpool to the Championship.
Blackpool are currently fifth, four points clear of seventh placed Charlton Athletic, while also having a game in hand.
If Blackpool are to be promoted, it doesn’t seem viable that they would sell their best chance of survival to someone in the same division as them.
However, if Blackpool don’t go up, then maybe Swan could be used as something to sweeten the deal by being sent to Bloomfield Road on a temporary basis.
Much like Plymouth, Blackpool have a Forest player on loan – this time in the shape of Jordan Gabriel – but considering Hughton allegedly wants him at Forest, it’s unlikely he’ll be going back.
This will especially be the case if the Seasiders remain a League One side.
Yates’ contract also doesn’t expire until 2023, so it may take a decent sized fee to prise him away from Bloomfield Road.
Sydney van Hooijdonk
Depending on who you ask, Pierre van Hooijdonk is either a snake or the best player the club has had since the Collymore era.
It’s perhaps ironic then that some 21-and-a-half years after his dad departed, his son Sydney has been linked with a move to Trentside.
Van Hooijdonk Jnr has had a stellar season so far with NAC Breda, scoring 12 goals in 22 appearances in the Jupiler League – the Dutch second division.
Aged 21, it seems that van Hooijdonk Jnr very much shares his father’s appetite for goals and could go a very long way in the game.
He also quite tall like his dad, with Sydney coming in at 6ft 1.
Van Hooijdonk Snr scored 36 goals in 71 games for Forest, before infamously going on strike after – among other things – a fall out with then manager Dave Bassett and the departure of strike partner Kevin Campbell.
Van Hooijdonk Snr also claimed that Forest promised they would sell him if a sufficient bid came in for him following the 1998 World Cup, which did but was still turned down.
It was a very sour episode to cloud his time at The City Ground, especially given he was voted as club Player of the Year in 1998.
For context as to how good he was, after leaving Forest in 1999 after relegation from the Premier League, van Hooijdonk Snr won the UEFA Cup with Feyenoord and the Süper Lig twice with Fenerbahce.
In addition, he also represented Holland at Euro 2000 and Euro 2004 and won Dutch Footballer of the Year in 2002 after being top scorer in the Eredivisie in the 2001/02 season.
Now, if Sydney is even half as good as his dad was, then it may be possible that Forest have to pay a similar fee that they paid for his dad to prise him away – £4.5m.
This does come with a risk – Forest have been stung with the Dutch market before, most notably with Lars Veldwijk, who was a colossal flop after looking promising in Holland.
There was also the Wesley Verhoek saga in the Steve McClaren era, with the player agreeing to sign before changing his mind at the last second.
However, if van Hooijdonk Jnr is the real deal, it would be quite poetic if he followed in his dad’s footsteps and fired Forest to the top flight.
Out of these three, who would you like Nottingham Forest to sign?