Nottingham Forest tried desperately to sign Manchester City youngster James McAtee during the summer. A loan move was blocked, however, with Pep Guardiola keen to keep him around the first team.
It was reported by the Daily Mail that several clubs were keen to take him. Forest and Derby were two of a host of Championship clubs vying for his services on loan.
Last night, the 18-year-old was handed a chance to shine for City. He was given an 18-minute cameo by Guardiola as the Citizens thrashed Wycombe 6-1.
His form in Premier League 2 this season has been nothing short of sensational. From an attacking midfield role, he has scored nine goals and claimed two assists from just five appearances.
Forest were trying to add several players to their ranks at the time of their interest. A new number 10 wasn’t added, although Steve Cooper might choose against using one anyway.
That said, McAtee could have still proved a useful addition to the ranks. He can also play in a more conventional midfield role and looks set for a bright future.
Guardiola chose not to loan Phil Foden out when pundits and former players said he would be wise too.
Now, McAtee will hope to emulate the England man and force his way into Guardiola’s reckoning on a more frequent basis.
Future star: McAtee would have been class Forest signing
It truly is a shame that City wouldn’t allow their academy graduate to join the Reds on loan.
He’d have been a welcome addition to the ranks and could have been capable of taking the Championship by storm.
Forest and a host of other second-tier clubs might wonder what might have been. Indeed, if his under-23 form continues, he could be strutting his stuff in City’s first team before too long.
Forest must now go with what they have and under Steve Cooper’s leadership, McAtee might not be the last Premier League youngster they try and sign.