Nottingham Forest midfielder Lewis O’Brien is now set to be allowed to go out on loan before next Friday’s deadline. Leeds and West Bromwich Albion are both thought to be interested in the midfield maestro.
According to BBC Sport, the Reds have now agreed that O’Brien will be deemed surplus to requirements at Forest. He spent the second half of last season on loan with MLS outfit D.C. United but they’ve not decided to sign him permanently.
The 24-year-old made 14 appearances for Forest during the first half of the 2022/23 campaign. He signed for the club for £10 million from Huddersfield shortly after the play-off final defeat to the Reds but was omitted from the 25-man squad for the second half of last season.
Now, O’Brien finds himself in limbo a little bit at Forest. Steve Cooper included the player on the bench at Arsenal for the first game of the season but he was considered the 21st man on Friday evening as the Reds defeated Sheffield United.
Moving the midfielder out on loan looks like the only real option here. Selling him will prove tricky given that not too many Championship clubs will be in a position to part with £10 million for a midfield player this summer.
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Both Leeds and West Brom will have their perks for O’Brien. West Brom would see him reunite with Carlos Corberan; whilst a move to Leeds would see him risk the wrath of Huddersfield fans by joining one of their biggest rivals.
O’Brien set to leave Forest on loan
It’s not clear at this stage how close O’Brien is to a departure. Next Friday is the deadline for transfers, however, and the Reds will hope to get him out of the door before the window slams shut.
Forest will likely include a deal in any move that sees O’Brien go out on loan. The Reds will want whoever takes him to insert a clause that suggests they must sign him for £10 million if promotion is secured at the end of the season.
It’s a shame that things haven’t worked out for O’Brien at Forest. When he did play for the club last season he was largely impressive and didn’t have too many bad games in the engine room under Cooper’s influence.
The talented player will be champing at the bit to play some regular football. With that in mind, this looks like a very sensible decision from a Forest point of view ahead of the transfer window closing next week.