Somewhat incredibly, 42 players have signed for Nottingham Forest, either on loan or permanently, since Fawaz Al-Hasawi and family completed their takeover of the club in the summer of 2012.
With the transfer embargo now in place and set to put a stop to the influx of players, now seems like as good a time as any to take a look back at the signings and determine whether or not they have been a hit or miss for the Reds.
Comment on the article below and let us know which players have been a hit or a miss
The signing of the popular Algerian – a key figure when on loan the previous season – was a fantastic early statement of intent for the new regime. The fact that the club were again able to buy players from the Premier League, mere months after having to sell Wes Morgan for a pittance, was crucial in picking the club up again after the traumatic previous campaign. And in hindsight, ‘Pep’ departing a year later was a move that suited neither party.
£500k (estimated) MISS
The former Welsh international – immediately installed as captain by Sean O’Driscoll – was already past his best when he arrived at the City Ground. Has yet to feature this season.
£220k (estimated) HIT
Although he was placed on the transfer list when Pearce took over this summer, Halford can be considered a success as he ‘did a job’ for Forest, featuring 82 times in practically every outfield position. May yet come back into the side, with Jack Hunt’s departure creating a vacancy as a backup to Eric Lichaj at right-back.
Although practically ever-present under O’Driscoll, the fact that Billy Davies instantly restored Chris Cohen at left-back when he returned shows how much faith the Scot had in the former Southampton man. Harding’s failure to regain his spot in the team on a regular basis, even after (both) of Cohen’s knee injuries means that he is unlikely to be retained by the club much longer.
As with Harding, he was a regular under O’Driscoll but barely featured under McLeish and Davies before being released by Pearce after a loan spell at Bristol City.
The Spanish centre-back struggled to make an impact, playing for the club just 13 times in an injury-hit season.
£1.8m (estimated) MISS
The Irish striker arrived under much fanfare and made an instant impact, his spectacular strike versus Birmingham being his second goal in his early appearances.
Unfortunately that was as good as it got, scoring just 12 more for the Reds; a goal return not good enough for a player often selected as a loan frontman.
The youngster, on loan from Chelsea, started brightly with a goal in the victory over Charlton on 1st September, but injuries hampered his progress and he played only 9 times for Forest.
His struggles this season have been well documented, but when Forest have been on fire in his two and a half years at the club, Lansbury has been in the thick of things.
Sharp was the top scorer in the 2012/13 season, but failing to score any after Davies returned to the club meant that his loan deal was never extended or made permanent. Sharp’s signing, after scoring 19 Championship goals the previous season when at Doncaster and Southampton, was seen as a significant coup at the time.
It is unclear who exactly was signing the players in the early weeks of the Fawaz era, but this loan signing of a Doncaster stalwart was surely O’Driscoll’s. Started just 2 games.
It was great sentimentally to see Jenas return, and score in the October rout of Barnsley, but the now BBC pundit was unable to make a significant enough impression to the team for a permanent move to be made, especially when taking into account his wage demands and injury record.
A first choice at the back in the 2012/13 season, to the extent that it was considered a disappointment when he joined the newly-promoted Bournemouth in the summer.
A player of undoubted quality, Forest won 3, lost 3 and drew 1 during his 7 game loan spell meaning that it’s difficult to call his time at the club a hit. A shame he wasn’t able to stay for the season, though.
£175k (estimated) TBD
Has looked bright when appearing in the first team, and was very impressive when on loan at Notts County early this season. However, at 24 he can’t really be considered a youngster anymore and it will be interesting to see whether he is able to get a run in the first team, or whether League One proves to be ‘his level’.
Loan (then free) HIT
His commitment last season was questioned; his guaranteed place in Chile’s World Cup squad meant that he shirked 50/50 challenges in the run-in last year. With the club recovering from the wreckage of Davies’s firing however, it would be hard to identify any player who was playing to their full potential as the season fizzled out, meaning that, on balance, Jara was a useful utility player in defence.
Signed for the club during the brief Alex McLeish era, fortunately ‘Big ‘Eck’ chose Karl Darlow rather than the Kuwaiti number 1 as Lee Camp’s replacement. Nothing lost, nothing gained by his signing.
Didn’t offer enough as the ‘big man’ option, and his temper meant he was always a liability.
Recently signed a two and a half year contract extension, the Polish-American is Forest’s first choice right-back, and was missed during the second half of last season.
£800k (estimated) HIT
The club’s top scorer last season, ‘Pato’ has perhaps suffered this season from increasing fans expectations from him with his performances last season. Still only 23, will be looking to be a key part of the squad if this season’s play-off push is to be rekindled.
Dorus de Vries
Attracting an experienced Championship goalkeeper to the club, as a number 2, has to be considered a success. Has looked solid when called upon, could be the club’s number 1 next season.
Loan (then estimated £1m) HIT
A huge miss whenever injured, mainly because all the central defenders he has played alongside – Wilson, Collins, Halford, Lascelles and Mancienne – have all looked significantly better when partnering Hobbs. Or significantly weaker without him, if you prefer.
£2m (estimated) MISS
To be fair to Abdoun, his main run in the side coincided with Forest’s best run and performances of last season. But it is the repercussions his performance off the pitch, with an estimated salary of over £35k a week, that have turned him into arguably one of Forest’s most expensive mistakes ever.
£1m (estimated) HIT
Nobody played more often than Mackie last season, with the Scot featuring 49 times, playing up front, on the wing and even at right-back on the final day of the season. Could consider himself unlucky that both Michail Antonio and Britt Assombalonga came in on the eve of this season – Mackie is an effective Championship performer but ultimately doesn’t score enough compared to these two.
£2.5m (estimated) MISS
Has been unfortunate with injuries since his return and has looked a shadow of the player who featured for Celtic so impressively in the Champions League. For the money spent on him, it would have been good if scouts had picked up somebody cheaper, rather than simply buying back somebody who was around previously (and who didn’t even play again under Davies in the half-season after his pre-contract move to Celtic was announced).
After such an impressive 2012/13 on loan at Watford, Chalobah will have been disappointed to have found himself loaned out again by Chelsea in September 2013. He featured 12 times for Forest but didn’t really replicate either his performances for Watford or those of his predecessor in the number 7 shirt at Forest, Guedioura.
Loan (then Free) TBD
Due to injuries last season and a lack of game time this season, the jury is still out on the diminutive former Sunderland man.
£1.3m (estimated) MISS
See his compatriot Abdoun, D. above, although without the benefit of even having had a few decent games for the Reds. His only goal for Forest came on his debut, when he scored from a yard out against Yeovil having controlled the ball with his arm.
Loan (then Free) MISS
The left-back is down as a miss as he was a regular in the side during the calamitous end to last season, and has played frequently in what has been a pretty forgettable term this time out too. With Cohen injured and Jack Hunt and Harding having departed, he seemingly has the position nailed down at present. Let’s hope that an improvement in Forest’s fortunes coincide with a rise in Fox’s.
The Senegalese defender arrived last January on loan, and only played once due to a combination of possessing a similar attitude to that of Djebbour and Abdoun, and being quite frankly not good enough for the Championship.
Seemingly signed by Neil Warnock despite Warnock not actually being the Forest manager, Peltier featured for Gary Brazil in each of his matches in charge, other than the one against his parent club Leeds. Peltier looked solid, playing in 3 different positions.
£500k (estimated) TBD
The big Dutchman is one for the future, and will be given time to develop with his path to the first team set to be unobstructed by any more big money new signings.
Despite not being as prolific as Assombalonga and Antonio, Fryatt is an experienced performer at this level. Pearce has spoken of Fryatt having the required character for his Forest side, which is welcome to know based on what happened with previous attacking signings.
Louis Laing and Roger Riera
The young centre-backs are included on this list as their signings were announced on the club website as first team signings. Neither have played for the Forest first team, but with Laing enjoying a spell at Notts County and Riera captaining Forest’s Under 21 team, the duo appear promising and you would expect them to break into the first team next season, with Collins and Halford likely to be released.
£1m (estimated) TBD
One of Pearce’s stalwarts for England U21, Mancienne had a great start to life at Forest but his form has tailed off at a similar rate to the team itself. Doesn’t appear to have been enhanced by captaining the side in recent months; Forest will hope that he is able to rekindle his promising partnership with Hobbs in the New Year.
Looked very decent in the early part of this season, contributing 3 assists in August. Still yet to play for Crystal Palace 18 months after joining them, expect to see Hunt join a Championship team this month.
Similar to Fryatt, Burke is a useful player to have around and offers a more hardworking contrast to Antonio when the two have lined up on opposite flanks.
With 10 goals and 8 assists already, Antonio is looking like one of Forest’s most complete attacking players in years. If he works on improving the defensive aspect of his game, Antonio could end up having a very long and fruitful spell in Nottingham.
Bought using the money made from the sale of Darlow and Lascelles to Newcastle, with 13 goals already the striker will surely be the 20 goals a season striker that Forest fans have been craving for years. Will this coincide, as it did when David Johnson hit 29 goals in 2002/3, with a ticket to the lottery that is the play-offs?
The German midfielder with a fierce shot in his locker has shown glimpses so far of the quality that made him a regular for Hamburg in the Bundesliga.
Absolutely nothing wrong with taking a punt on a player voted the best young player outside the Premier League as recently as 2013. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out with Ince failing to offer anything in his appearances in the Garibaldi and he was eventually recalled by Hull a couple of games earlier than planned.