Much like M People, one Nottingham Forest player is edging closer to moving on up to the Premier League.
Reports are coming in from The Sheffield Star, that recently promoted Sheffield United are at the ‘advanced stage’ of completing the signing of Reds utility man Ben Osborn. Although it’s not known what the fee is at this stage, reports from earlier in the summer suggested that Nottingham Forest were holding out for around £6m.
Osborn is entering the last year of his deal, and it looks as though Nottingham Forest have decided to sell rather than try to negotiate a new one. Osborn first broke into the Forest side in the latter stages of the 2013/14 season, and has since gone on to make 230 appearances in all competitions, scoring 16 goals and providing 32 assists along the way. However, it looks like his time at the City Ground is nearing its conclusion.
I’m a bit up in the air when it comes to this transfer. The fact he’s willing to let him go indicates to me that Sabri Lamouchi is likely to be going with a 4-3-3 formation this upcoming season, much like he did during his time with Ivory Coast, and as such you don’t really need a left midfielder.
If you operate with Albert Adomah and Joe Lolley as the interchanging wingers up top, then you can link them up with a centre forward like Lewis Grabban (or someone yet to join, let’s not rule out that possibility). If he’s considered deadwood because of his position, then some might say he should be shipped out.
Although I still think a utility player like Osborn has a role to play. The Championship is a long season and having players to rotate in when others need rest or are injured is crucial, and having someone that can play multiple positions is a great asset to have. You could make the argument that he can just slot into another one of his many roles, but those places have already been filled by the new signings of Yuri Ribeiro, Alfa Semedo and to a lesser extent Tiago Silva, so he’d only have been reduced to a substitute’s role anyway.
Whilst it’s unsure if he’ll be playing regularly for Sheffield United or not, at the very least, being a substitute in the Premier League is better than being a substitute in the Championship.
With his contract coming to an end, though, I think this is the right decision. Better to take the money now and reinvest it in the squad, than hold on to him and risk losing him on a free transfer next summer. Sabri Lamouchi has already made some shrewd moves since his arrival, so hopefully, he keeps up his track record of making good decisions and this doesn’t end up coming back to bite Forest further down the road.