Date: 24th June 2019 at 6:24pm
Written by: Barney Laws

This is Martin O’Neill’s first full transfer window, and thus his first chance to properly put his marker down on how he wants his squad built.

There’s been some interesting names being linked, such as Australian midfielder Brandon O’Neill, who I think could do quite well, however I’m concerned that O’Neill has taken an interest in Sammy Ameobi. I’m concerned because looking at a signing of his calibre, it is a sign that O’Neill isn’t showing much ambition when it comes to his targets.

Let’s just take a look at his stats. Ten goals and ten assists in over 100 games in the Championship, two goals and one assist during his time in League One with Bolton back in 2016-17. Is this the kind of player that fills you with confidence to replace the likes of Joe Lolley if his move to Aston Villa eventually goes through?

If these stats came from a young player who was coming off the bench occasionally for their club and was needing more time to develop, I’d be more inclined to think that there was some potential in this move. But Ameobi is 27, there isn’t much more development that you’re going to get out of him, what you see is what you get, and what you’re getting just isn’t going to cut it at this level.

Maybe he’s going to try something radical and play him in goal, they are in the market for one in Arijanet Muric and with Ameobi standing at 6’4 he’s certainly got the height for it, that’s possibly the only use he could have on this Forest side. Having been released by Bolton and therefore available on a free transfer, I suppose the only real positive to come out of this story, is that if and when he fails to deliver, Forest fans can take comfort in the fact that they didn’t spend anything substantial out of the transfer budget for him.

Martin O’Neill got off to an OK start as Forest boss, particularly in February and March when they only lost three out of their ten games and got as high as eighth in the table. But a disastrous run of four defeats in a row in April ultimately cost Forest their shot in the playoffs.

Having come so close to the top six, you’d think that Martin O’Neill would be looking for a higher calibre of player to get him over the edge. If you’re working on a limited budget, I understand going for free agents, but you should be looking at players that have been released by teams in the division above you, not the division below.  If they didn’t work out there, what makes you think they’re going to be able to make the step up a division?

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