If you were to ask fans to write down a list of the areas where Nottingham Forest need to strengthen in this summer, the answer likely to appear the most would be in the final third.
Forest scored only 37 goals in 46 Championship outings last season. Only Derby County, who only just escaped the drop, scored fewer. Quite simply, that tally needs to improve if Chris Hughton’s side are to have a positive 2021/22 season.
But you look at every area of the pitch, and you feel that aside from centre-half, every position needs to be added to before the start of next season, particularly at right-back.
Cyrus Christie played every minute of every Championship game for Forest after making his debut last term, and has since returned to parent club Fulham where he looks to spend the whole of next season.
Jordan Gabriel, however, has since returned to the City Ground after an impressive loan spell at Blackpool last season, and has started in each of their three pre-season games so far.
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Gabriel, though, is attracting plenty of interest ahead of the new season. Blackpool are said to have made an offer for the right-back, after he impressed in his 35 appearances on loan at Bloomfield Road.
Sunderland are also said to have made an approach for Gabriel, though, leaving Forest with a couple of decisions to make on his future.
The Reds’ lack of transfer activity suggests that a big-money sale would galvanise them into bringing in new players, but whether Gabriel’s potential departure would be able to fund that is unlikely.
You look at Forest’s current options at right-back with 18 days to go until the new season gets underway, and realistically, Gabriel is their only option.
Carl Jenkinson is understood to have been told to find a new club, and Fin Back is a young player still learning his trade.
Selling Gabriel, then, would be seen as a risky move given the lack of activity thus far, and would leave Forest missing a first-choice full-back going into the new campaign.
For now, Chris Hughton will continue assessing his squad and looking to see where he can add bits of competition to.
Selling Gabriel would not only weaken that competition, but would leave a new recruit not really receiving any competition at all.