Nottingham Forest fans have received some good news on Friday as manager Mark Warburton has downplayed speculation linking defender Eric Lichaj with a move away, reports The Nottingham Post.
The 28-year-old moved to the City Ground all the way back in 2013 after a five-year stint at Aston Villa, and has since gone on to become an integral part of the squad at the East Midlands giants.
The United States international has played 163 games for the Reds in the last four years, including 45 last term to help the club avoid relegation from the Championship, with Lichaj’s consistent displays earning him the Player of the Season award.
However, the defender has yet to agree a new deal with Forest and, with his current one due to expire at the end of the season, speculation has been building about his future, with Barnsley reportedly interested in the 28-year-old’s services as a possible replacement for Andy Yiadom, who looks set to move to Huddersfield.
Nonetheless, Reds chief Warburton has played down that speculation, stating: ‘I read some stories on the internet with pure amazement. That is the first I have heard of that one.
‘He [Yiadom] has done very well and, if he moves on, no doubt they (the media) will name 10 possible replacements.
‘Eric is one of them, it seems. But he is a talented player, he was player of the year last season and he is a part of our squad.’
These comments are likely to reassure Forest supporters who saw Lichaj play a prominent role in helping them stave off relegation last term, and will likely play an even greater role in helping them climb the table this time round.
And with the American reportedly keen on penning an extension with the club, it appears that Barnsley’s pursuit of a Yiadom replacement will have to go elsewhere.
The Verdict: Andy Yiadom’s impending move to Premier League side Huddersfield Town has given manager Lee Johnson much to think about in terms of a replacement, and it appears that Eric Lichaj was one he was keeping tabs on.
Yet Nottingham Forest manager Mark Warburton has done his best in downplaying the speculation and insisting that the 28-year-old remains a key part of things at the City Ground, and having won the Player of the Season award last term, it’s not hard to see why.
Forest and Barnsley fans… what do you make of the news? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!