With the departures of Apostolos Vellios and Halil Soudani, there are a few more places up for grabs when it comes to the forward department at the City Ground. One of the main targets the boss Martin O’Neill has been looking at this summer, comes north of the border in the form of Lawrence Shankland.
Shankland, who scored 34 goals for Ayr United in all competitions last year is now a free agent and has been on the radar of a number of clubs. As well as Forest facing a battle to gain his signature from the likes of Sunderland and Hull City, The Scottish Sun are reporting that Dundee United are now entering the race to add to Rangers and Celtic interest.
But just what sort of player is he? I’ll let his former manager give you a low down of what Forest would be getting. “He scores goals with his right foot from 25 yards, with his left foot from 20 yards, he scores tap-ins, headers. He’s so fit and strong. I’m not even sure if he’s best as a number nine or number 10. He’s not even close to how good he could be.”
That’s all well and good, but I have one question. Are we meant to believe that he can instantly translate that style of play and that high level of goals straight into the Championship? I’m not so sure.
When Shaun Hutchinson signed for Fulham back in 2014, he said that moving from the SPL to the Championship was a ‘step up’, putting the SPL at about League One level, meaning that the Scottish Championship is probably at a League Two level. It can take a while for players to adapt to the Championship when they come from lower leagues. Rickie Lambert needed some time in League One before producing at Championship level, Jamie Vardy didn’t hit the ground running straight away after his move from Fleetwood to Leicester.
I just don’t believe, based on history, that Forest would see an instant return on their investment if they brought this guy in. With Martin O’Neill targeting promotion this season, I don’t think that he and the team can afford to have a ‘development year’ for Shankland. They need to be investing in someone that can get them an instant return in the goal department, not someone that might be good in a year or two.