By Will Butcher
Newcastle have been told in no uncertain terms that Nottingham Forest star Ben Osborn is not for sale, according to a report.
The Nottingham Post claim Newcastle had enquired after the 22-year-old midfielder, but Philippe Montanier’s side have rebuffed the Toon’s approach as they resign themselves to losing Henri Lansbury.
The report claims that Aston Villa are set to pounce for captain Lansbury with an offer worth more than £3million and £40,000 in wages, leaving Forest desperate to keep hold of their other stars.
Wearing the number 11 shirt, Osborn has been a rare shining light for Forest this season, despite the two-time European Champions currently stuttering in the bottom half of the Championship.
His creativity from out wide and in the number 10 role has provided Forest with an attacking spark, despite his side struggling to maintain any kind of consistent form.
Having a hand in six goals during his 25 Championship outings, Osborn has scored just once in the 5-2 win over Barnsley, but his ability to provide an assist has caught the eye of Rafa Benitez.
Since his debut against Ipswich in March 2014, Osborn has gone on to make 114 league and cup appearances for the Championship giants and has a contract with Forest until the summer of 2020.
Football Insider verdict:
With Osborn currently delivering in a side that are faltering, it is obvious that the he has talent. With Christian Atsu jetting off to Gabon to represent Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations, the Toon have been left with just Yoann Gouffran and Matt Ritchie out wide, while Sammy Ameobi’s future remains in doubt. A move for Osborn would have more than solved that problem. However, after losing fellow academy graduate Oliver Burke to ambitious Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig in the summer, and possibly Henri Lansbury to rivals Aston Villa, Forest will be looking to do their utmost to keep Osborn at the City Ground.
In other Newcastle transfer news, fans have reacted on Twitter to speculation that has seen Fernando Torres linked with a move to St. James’ Park.