Nottingham Forest suffered a fatal blow to their hopes of attaining a playoff place this season after losing 3-0 to Sheffield Wednesday. The Reds are five places and eight points adrift of the top-six with five games remaining and could lose a number of important players this summer as a result.
Joe Lolley is one name that will dominate the rumour mill when the season comes to a close. The 26-year-old has contributed 19 goals in 37 Championship starts, created 72 chances and made 90 successful dribbles (57%). Despite signing a new long-term deal with Forest in February, it’s hard to see Lolley turning down Premier League interest over the summer.
The English wide-man is one of the best players in the Championship and may fancy a new challenge if promotion is unattainable with Forest – Martin O’Neill’s failure in charge could prove costly. The Reds hold all the cards with negotiations, however, as they’re in no rush to cash in on Lolley – no transfer request or soon-to-be expiring contract to worry about.
He’s unlikely to be cheap for suitors to sign despite being linked with a £10m move to Bournemouth in December 2018. Lolley should be worth double that figure now. Forest’s record departure is Britt Assombalonga (to Middlesbrough for £15m) last season, so Lolley should match that price at the bare minimum.
If he does leave, fans can point the finger at O’Neill. He replaced Aitor Karanka as the side were outside of the playoff places. Forest are even worse off now and could pay the ultimate price.