This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Nottingham Forest midfielder Ben Watson could be set to leave the City Ground this summer with Charlton Athletic and QPR reportedly among the clubs keen to sign him as a free agent.
The 34-year-old has been integral for Sabri Lamouchi this season – featuring in every Championship game and dictating play from central midfield – but his current deal expires at the end of June.
According to The Athletic, Forest have offered him a new one-year deal but he could leave the City Ground, with Charlton and QPR among a number of London-based clubs keen on signing him.
It is understood that a return to the capital could prove tempting for the midfielder, though he would likely stay at Forest if they offered him a two-year deal.
But would it be a blow for the Reds if Watson left the club this summer?
We asked our FLW writers for their thoughts…
Watson would be a huge loss for Lamouchi and that’s not something many Nottingham Forest fans would’ve believed 12 months ago.
In a promotion-chasing side, Watson has been the epitome of consistency in the middle of the park, dictating games and proving to be the calming, experienced influence that Forest have been crying out for.
Even if the dream is achieved and Forest are playing Premier League football in 2020/21, you can see the benefit of having Watson around. He’s played in the Premier League and given his role this year, he would relish stepping up once more.
Getting an agreement in place is going to be key, but it does, unfortunately for Forest, feel like it might be a waiting game.
I think so.
He’s proven himself an important part of what Forest have done this season and it would be a shame to lose him after such a good campaign.
Yes, he’s not getting any younger but he’s shown no signs of decline whatsoever and, if they go up, he has Premier League experience – something the Reds need more of.
He’s a perfect player for how Lamouchi wants to set up his side and I think the Reds would be wise to do all they can to keep him.
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I think it would be a big loss for Forest if they were to lose Watson, regardless of whichever division the Reds find themselves playing in next season.
Watson has been undoubtedly one of Forest’s most important players under Sabri Lamouchi this term. He’s started every single Championship campaign and has been the perfect linchpin for them in midfield, breaking up play and protecting the back four with ease.
If Forest go up, then his presence in the dressing room would be massive as they looked to cement their place back in the Premier League, along with the likes of Michael Dawson, too.
If they stay down, then the Reds would need picking back up and motivating all over again. Professionals like Watson and Dawson are key assets for the club, and to lose him would be a massive blow, even if he doesn’t play as many games next term.