By Danny Wright
Football Insider gazes into its crystal ball and predicts the Nottingham Forest team for the opening day of the 2017-18 campaign
Whoever is announced as the new Nottingham Forest manager this summer will most likely have to face a barrage of interest in wonderkid Ben Brereton.
The 17-year-old scored a last minute winner in last Saturday’s 2-1 victory against Aston Villa which has forced him into the media limelight and there will no doubt be Premier League clubs looking to capture his signature.
Forest could use the funds from the sale of the striker to bulk out the squad with up top-flight players who may leave their clubs at the end of their contracts, according to TransferMarkt.
In addition to signing Premier League trio Wayne Hennessey, Jonas Olsson and Joe Ledley, Forest could also make on-loan striker Ross McCormack’s deal at the club permanent.
Villa clearly want to move the striker away from the club and having bought the Scottish international for £12million in the summer, they may be willing to cut their losses and let him join Forest on a permanent deal.
Forest already have a promising attack. Britt Assombalonga has been a regular goalscorer for the club for the past few seasons and January signing Zach Clough will only improve.
The next key to Forest’s signings will be experience. Players who have won the Championship and played a lot of Premier League football over recent years such as goalkeeper Hennessey and centre-back Olsson.
Although both players are on the wrong side of 30, experience of upper-tier English football is hard to come by in the current set up at the City Ground.
Current West Brom centre-back Olsson’s deal is up at the Hawthorns in the summer and with him currently out of the team, despite Johnny Evans being out injured, he is likely to leave and find it difficult to get more games in the Premier League.
The experienced hard-man will be a good addition to the already steady performing Danny Fox, Daniel Pinillos and Eric Lichaj. The inclusion of Hennessey over Stephen Henderson is a clear improvement to solidify the defence.
Ben Osborn and Patjim Kasami are already good midfielders and it would make little sense to replace them.
Henri Lansbury’s switch to Villa does leave a gap to be filled though and may mean another raid of Crystal Palace’s out-of-contract players.
Welsh international Joe Ledley sees his deal expire at Selhurst Park and although there may be interest from some of the lower Premier League clubs, it is doubtful that he would want to be involved in yet another relegation scrap – especially if Palace are relegated.
The 30-year-old could come in and do a great job to add balance to the Forest midfield
With these additions Forest will definitely push towards the play-off places and may even earn promotion back to the Premier League for the first time in the 21st century.
The addition of brute force to the back line and midfield could prove to be the difference and would be wise steps towards the promised land for whoever their next manager is.
In other Nottingham Forest news, fans react on Twitter to next possible manager.