Nottingham Forest’s chances of signing Jack Colback were already diminished due to the uncertain future of Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, but now the Reds have been dealt a crushing blow after Benitez’s departure was recently confirmed.
The 29-year-old was a standout performer during last season’s loan spell at the City Ground, but Forest were always going to struggling to bring him back for a third consecutive campaign. Colback could have interest from sides in the Premier League and may stay at Newcastle until a new manager is appointed.
Forest aren’t short on midfielders with the Reds having Ben Watson, Ryan Yates, Adlene Guedioura, Claudio Yacob and Liam Bridcutt, but Colback provided a box-to-box threat last season and broke up opposition attacks on a regular basis.
The £40k-per-week midfielder is a hard player to replace and Forest will be worse off without him. O’Neill may have to admit defeat in this lengthy pursuit of Colback and turn his attentions elsewhere. There’s also the option of giving Yacob more minutes in 2019/20 – something that may be unlikely given his treatment under O’Neill last season.
At least one midfielder could be brought in this summer, but it may not be Colback.