The summer transfer window is upon us and Nottingham Forest will need to ensure they are active ahead of 2021/22.
Chris Hughton oversaw a 17th place finish last season and that simply won’t do next time around.
The boss knows that he must have the club challenging in the higher echelons of the Championship – and recruits will be necessary.
Forest will likely be in for a busy summer in the transfer market, and here’s a five-point plan for how the Reds can attack this summer’s window.
1. Goals, goals, goals
Forest found the net just 37 times during the 2020/21 campaign. Birmingham scored the same and only Derby, with 36, scored less.
That represents a massive problem and finding the way to goal is going to be integral for Forest’s fortunes next season.
Jerry Yates, Luke Jephcott, Joe Piggott and Charlie Wyke have all been linked with a City Ground switch and a younger striker might be sought.
Forest have Lewis Grabban and Lyle Taylor on their books, with both players now in their thirties.
The Reds duo struggled for consistency last season and some a couple of new strikers to help them wouldn’t go amiss.
2. Backup goalkeeper
It may sound harsh on the evergreen Jordan Smith but at 26, the time will eventually come for him to go and play regular football.
He’s been the understudy to Brice Samba for the last two seasons but Hughton could do with signing someone more experienced.
The Congolese stopper will almost certainly remain as the club’s number one next season, despite some inconsistencies during 2020/21.
Having an experienced stopper in reserve would ensure Samba doesn’t get complacent and would complement the squad nicely.
3. Reinforce the midfield
James Garner will return to Manchester United and getting him back would be a massive bonus going into the new season.
If another loan for the 20-year-old isn’t possible, however, more midfielders will need to be identified.
Jack Colback and Harry Arter don’t appear to be in favour, leaving Ryan Yates and Cafu as the only experienced midfield options for next season.
That simply won’t do and two or three midfielders being added to the engine room is a must this summer.
4. Keep Joe Worrall
This one could prove to be the hardest one of all. It’s over 20-years since the Reds played Premier League football and ultimately that makes for a selling club.
Matty Cash left for Aston Villa last summer and it does seem as though another prized asset might be sold this time around.
That shouldn’t be Worrall though. Although he probably has the highest bounty on his head, the centre-back is integral to the team’s fortunes.
The 24-year-old is Forest through and through and if the Reds could refrain from selling for at least another year, it would help no end.
5. Focus on homegrown talent
This one sounds so simple yet could prove so important next season.
The likes of Brennan Johnson, Alex Mighten, Tyrese Fornah and Jordan Gabriel must be featuring regularly in the squad next season.
Forest have focused on the tried and tested method of recruiting experienced performers for a few years now, with very limited success.
The time has come to cut back on the hefty spending and instead hand places in the squad to the club’s homegrown talent.
It’s a strategy that has worked for Forest in the past. Next season, however, it needs to be a more prominent aspect of Hughton’s squad.