Less than two months after ending their Premier League promotion dreams in the Championship play-off final at Wembley, Nottingham Forest are on course to hand Huddersfield Town another blow – this time via the transfer market.
The Telegraph’s John Percy reported on Sunday that Forest have agreed a deal with Huddersfield for midfielder Lewis O’Brien and left-back Harry Toffolo with the pair set to have medicals today ahead of a move that will cost around £10 million before add-ons.
It’s hardly an insignificant sum but there can be no denying that losing two of their most important players less than a fortnight out from the start of the season is not how the club will have hoped the summer would play out.
The Terriers have a player ready to step up and fill the void at left-back in Josh Ruffels but it would be no surprise to see them dip back into the transfer market to sign a replacement for O’Brien.
They’ve already drafted in two new midfielders this summer in David Kasumu, signed from MK Dons, and Jack Rudoni, signed from AFC Wimbledon, but further reinforcements could be wise.
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Huddersfield don’t have to look too far either as a strong candidate is currently plying his trade for one of their Yorkshire rivals, Rotherham United.
Ben Wiles enjoyed the best season of his career in 2021/22 as he helped the Millers win promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking – scoring 10 goals and providing seven assists as he often proved an unstoppable force in the centre of the park.
His driving runs forward last term indicate that he could replicate the impact that O’Brien has in transition for the Terriers – winning the ball back and dragging his side forward with the ball at his feet – while his tireless work out of possession should mean he can replace the work the 22-year-old’s defensive output as well.
There’s a huge amount to like about the 23-year-old and it appears the ideal time to sign him as he’ll be high in confidence after the best season of his career and has just one year left on his current contract.
Huddersfield have been linked with Wiles already this summer, alongside the likes of Blackpool, Burnley, and Sheffield United, while Paul Warne has indicated that Rotherham will sell him at the right price – having turned down three bids including one in excess of £2 million already.
With significant progress being made in O’Brien’s move to Forest, Huddersfield should be considering how to replace him ahead of the 2022/23 campaign and if they believe a new signing is the right way to do that then the Millers’ number eight should be a target.