By Will Butcher
Newcastle are likely to wait until the summer to move for Nottingham Forest playmaker Ben Osborn, according to a report.
The Evening Chronicle claim manager Rafa Benitez is a keen admirer of Forest’s 22-year-old, as he continues to ask his scouts for regular updates on the versatile attacker.
The Nottingham Post claimed earlier this month that Newcastle had enquired after Forest’s number 11, but were told to look elsewhere for new recruits.
Now, it is believed Benitez will continue to keep tabs on Forest’s academy product before weighing up a move in the summer.
Osborn, a one-time England Under-20 international, has been a rare shining light in a Forest side that has struggled this season, with French manager Philippe Montanier being sacked as a result.
Making 30 appearances in all competitions, Osborn proved on Saturday why he is renowned as one of the brightest young talents in the Championship with a wonderful free-kick against Bristol City.
Chipping the ball up to himself, Osborn lashed his second goal of the season home from 25 yards to earn a 1-0 win against Lee Johnson’s City.
Providing a rare creative spark for Forest, the two-time European Champions will be desperate to keep Osborn for at least the rest of the season after losing Henri Lansbury to Aston Villa.
Football Insider verdict:
Newcastle will be in desperate need of width come the end of the season, with Sammy Ameobi’s contract ending in six months and Christian Atsu only on loan at St. James’ Park until June. That means the Toon will only be left with Matt Ritchie and Yoann Gouffran, while Rolando Aarons continues to recover from a long-term knee injury. Bringing in a player who can perform out wide in the summer, with plenty of years left in his career, is vital. Osborn, who has shone in the Championship by producing glimpses of raw talent, would prove a crucial signing in adding depth and serious quality out wide with the young Forest star likely to only get better.
In other Newcastle transfer news, the Toon have made an approach for another Premier League wide man.