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Is Matz Sels the signing to save Nottingham Forest’s season?

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Nottingham Forest completed the signing of Matz Sels from Strasbourg on deadline day in the January transfer window. The 31-year-old Belgian international was immediately installed as Forest’s new number-one goalkeeper, replacing the struggling Matt Turner. So with Sels now in between the sticks, does this mean Forest has a better chance of staying up?

What do the bookmakers say?

A look at the betting suggests Forest is at serious risk of relegation. At respective odds of 1/200 and 1/12, Sheffield United and Burnley already look in deep trouble, according to the bookmakers. But after the two leading relegation candidates, the bookies seem to think it’s one from Luton, Nottingham Forest, Everton, Crystal Palace and Brentford.

Luton are favourites to be the third side to go down at 6/5. Then the odds on football bets from Paddy Power for the remaining teams see Nottingham Forest next at 6/5, with Everton at 10/3, Palace at 6/1, and Brentford at 9/1. Football tips and predictions are likely to be for Luton to go down. But Forest fans know that the team can’t keep leaking soft goals and dropping points, as Luton is making a real fist of staying in the Premier League.

A lot in Nuno’s in-tray

When Nuno Espírito Santo replaced Steve Cooper as Nottingham Forest head-coach last December, the former Wolves and Spurs boss had quite a lot of tasks immediately waiting in his intray.

Arguably, the biggest was the goalkeeping situation for Forest. Matt Turner was clearly struggling, and his errors had started to cost Forest matches.

Nuno knew a new goalkeeper was vital if Forest was to stay up, and thankfully for Forest fans, Nuno and the club have acted.

Graceful reaction

Turner himself seems to have accepted his fate gracefully. The former Arsenal stopper was quick to point out that he doesn’t blame Forest for replacing him. But on a positive note, the US international also says he is prepared to stay and fight for the number one spot. The truth is, Turner isn’t a bad keeper. He didn’t sign for Arsenal for no reason. He is a proven performer, with World Cup experience included on his CV.

The problem is that he is just going through a bad patch. And with relegation problems on the horizon, Nuno couldn’t afford to risk leaving Turner in goal for the rest of the season.

Positives to take from Matz Sels signing

If Forest can stave off relegation, the chances are the slate might be wiped clean for Turner ahead of the 2024/25 season. If the American can get back to his best, then suddenly Nuno has a positive headache, as Forest will have two top-quality goalkeepers to choose from.

And in the meantime, with Turner still at the club, should Matz Sels suffer an injury or get suspended, the American is still a more than capable deputy.

So the focus for Turner now needs to be on getting himself back to where he needs to be, in case the club needs to call on his services again this season. The next season can wait. Forest needs to focus on the here and now. And in signing Matz Sels, the club has already taken a step in the right direction.

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