Nottingham Forest are eyeing an astonishing raid on Derby County to sign England under-21 defender Lee Buchanan, according to The Sun.
The 20-year-old has risen through the Derby youth ranks to become a mainstay in the first team. He has 44 appearances to his name, scoring once and claiming three assists.
Buchanan has showcased his versatility during his time with the Rams. He has played the majority of his football at left-back but can also operate as a central defender.
The Mansfield-born performer is out of contract next summer and with Derby in a perilous position off the field, they could be forced into a sale.
Whether or not the club would consider selling the crown jewels to their fierce rivals remains to be seen. Their current predicament, however, could see them left with little choice.
Bucnanan played against Forest in both fixtures last season. He operated in an advanced left-sided role at the City Ground and at left-back during the Pride Park clash.
At this stage, it’s unclear how much Forest have bid, although it seems like the sort of deal where they’ll have to play a waiting game.
Derby won’t want to lose their prized asset to a rival club, whilst they’ll want to ensure they don’t further weaken their threadbare squad.
Wayne Rooney is a big fan of the defender. Back in February, he said during a post-match interview: “I’d argue he’s one of the best young left-backs in the country. And he can go to another level as well. He’s a real top player.”
Buchanan to Forest: Deal makes perfect sense for Reds
This one could rumble on for a little while. Derby are unlikely to accept the first bid Forest make and could force the Reds into shopping elsewhere.
In a sense, this situation could tell us exactly how perilous Derby’s situation is at the moment. Losing Buchanan to Forest would be akin to pouring acid into an open wound and the club will want to avoid upsetting the fan base.
The left-back fits the bill of a player the Reds should be targeting. He is young, has lots of games under his belt and crucially, would arrive with plenty of sell-on value.
Forest are crying out for a left-back and this could prove to be a very shrewd move by the club indeed.