Having already signed Sammy Ameobi on a free transfer from Bolton Wanderers, it looks as if Nottingham Forest are one step closer to making their second signing of the window.
Sports reporter Alan Nixon is reporting that Manchester City’s young backup goalkeeper Arijanet Muric is in the process of picking his loan club. With Manchester City having already signed 24-year-old American goalkeeper Zack Steffan, it looks as if Muric will be surplus to requirements this season and could be for some time.
Other reports suggest that it’s set to be a straight shootout between Forest and Preston North End for the 20-year-old Montenegrin. Manchester City already have an established relationship with the Deepdale side, having sent Brandon Barker and Lukas Nmceha there last season. However, Nixon claims that Nottingham Forest are still the favourites.
What this does do though, is throw a question up regarding how Martin O’Neill is set to manage his goalkeepers next season. There are currently three on the books, the current number one Costel Pantilimon plus Luke Steele and Jordan Smith.
Jordan Smith spent last season on loan at Barnsley on an ‘emergency loan’, before spending the latter part of the year with Mansfield Town in League Two, so he’s more than likely going to be sent out on loan again, possibly to a League One side, as he’s shown he’s not ready to make the step up yet.
That just leaves us with the two more experienced ones left to fight out for the backup spot, because Pep Guardiola isn’t going to let him move if he isn’t going to be first choice.
In my opinion, I think it would be best if they moved on Costel Pantilimon and kept Luke Steele as the backup goalkeeper, purely because of their relative value. Pantilimon is currently valued at £1.35m, with Steele coming in at £225k.
You can use that money to help reinvest in the rest of the squad in different areas. It seems that Forest are a bit cash strapped at the moment, or are unwilling to spend. That’s why they are relying on the likes of Ameobi on a free, as well as Alan Hutton being linked as he is also available on a free.
I’ve said before that this move should be a permanent one for Muric, and given how many goalkeepers there are ahead of him at Manchester City, Ederson, Claudio Bravo and now Zack Steffan, a good loan move here could be the perfect opportunity to make the move permanent at the end of the season. In that case you don’t want Pantilimon’s value to keep going down as the months go by. You need to sell him now and sell him at the best possible price, otherwise you run the risk of holding on to a dead weight.