Whilst Nottingham Forest have stayed firm on their belief that Joe Lolley won’t be leaving for less than £15m, they say that everybody has their price. Add to that, the fact that Lolley is a self-professed Aston Villa fan himself, there’s only so long you can keep the two clubs away from each other.
Eventually I think the deal will go through, there’s too much money at stake for Forest to turn down and eventually they’ll see it as a sum they can use to address multiple positions in the squad. When that time comes Forest can’t afford to look for someone from within the club to take them forward, there’s only so much Lewis Grabban can do up front.
It appears as though those contingency plans are underway, with SportIreland reporting that Nottingham Forest are set to make a move for Bristol City’s 24-year-old Irish winger and Leeds United target, Callum O’Dowda.
O’Dowda would be a perfect replacement for Joe Lolley should he eventually be sold.
Whilst his stats might not back up Lolley in a head to head comparison, with O’Dowda contributing only five goals and five assists in all competitions last year, compared to Lolley’s twelves and eleven, let’s not forget that O’Dowda wasn’t a constant performer for Bristol City last year. Although he did suffer a knee injury, The Times reports that the predominant reason he was absent from the squad in the latter part of the season was because of his refusal to sign a new contract at Ashton Gate.
But you don’t need stats to prove how useful he’d be, granted they help, but they’re not the most important factor. Sometimes you just have to let your eyes be the judge of someone’s ability, and O’Dowda has got that by the bucket load.
Just take a look at what he showed in Bristol’s defeat to Norwich last year, and his goal against Cardiff from two seasons ago. He can run at defenders and has great footwork and finishing skills, so the talent is there, he just needs to get a consistent run of games under him and he could turn into the perfect Championship winger and Forest fans will forget all about Lolley after a while.
Given that it’s set to be a straight shootout between Leeds and Forest for his signature, O’Neill will have to pull out all the stops to convince him to come to Forest rather than the team more likely to challenge for promotion, but if they can pull it off, this could be a move that pushes Forest up there with Leeds for promotion contention.