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
It was a productive end to the summer transfer window for Nottingham Forest and Chris Hughton.
Three new signings arrived on Deadline Day in Mohamed Drager, Xande Silva and Braian Ojeda, and Rodrigo Ely joined on a free transfer a few days later.
The club also beat the deadline to bring in Djed Spence on loan from Middlesbrough, with the 21-year-old joining the Reds for the season.
Spence has established himself as an impressive right wing-back at Boro, adding plenty of competition to the Forest squad.
Jordi Osei-Tutu is already at the club on loan, whilst Drager is also vying for a place in the side following Jordan Gabriel’s departure.
Do we expect Spence to be a regular starter under Chris Hughton? We discuss…
I am caught in a few minds about this one and there is a lot to consider when judging if he will see sufficient game time this season.
First of all, where does Chris Hughton see Spence operating? As the 21-year-old has proven to be a competent right-back option, whilst also showing that he can make impact on the right-wing.
If it is right-back that Hughton view him at, then he will be contesting with Jordi Osei-Tutu and Mohamed Drager for a starting spot.
On the right-wing he will be competing with the likes of Joe Lolley, Philip Zinckernagel, and perhaps Alex Might at times for starting XI selection, but the advantage that Spence has over all three of them is his direct running at opponents.
The fact that Forest have snuck in and have pipped Premier League clubs to his signing, to me, suggests that he will be granted enough Championship minutes to fully justify the move.
I think he has every chance of getting himself in line for contention, but Forest now possess strong options who can quite equally force their way into the side too.
I firmly expected Djed Spence to make the right back berth his own at the City Ground. With the departure of Jordan Gabriel to Blackpool and the injury to Jordi Osei-Tutu the Middlesbrough loanee should have no issues breaking into Chris Hughton’s first team plans.
Spence was deployed predominantly as a right midfielder for Neil Warnock at Boro but is also a capable right full back at Championship level.
The 21-year-old is far superior to his direct competition for the role, Carl Jenkinson’s Nottingham Forest career has ceased to really get going and his deal runs out this summer, and Mohamed Drager struggled for minutes at Olympiakos last term.
It was a surprise to see Spence end up at Forest amidst rumoured Premier League interest, but nonetheless I fully expect him to hit the ground running and help drag the club away from the Championship relegation conversation.
20 quiz questions about Nottingham Forest’s 2021/22 season so far – Can you score full marks?
It’s a possibility but not a certainty.
This was a bit of a bizarre signing for Nottingham Forest considering the other areas they needed to address first.
Jordan Gabriel may have left for Blackpool, but they went overboard on the right-backs and have Mohamed Drager, Carl Jenkinson, Jordi Osei-Tutu and Fin Back as other options.
Spence might be a decent player – but does he get in over the likes of fellow loanee Osei-Tutu and another new signing in Drager? It’s possible – but again – not certain.
At left-back, they have Gaetan Bong who seems to be a firm favourite of Chris Hughton’s, with Max Lowe also coming in. So unless there’s an injury or two in this department, he is unlikely to get in there, with a starting place further up the pitch on the wing also looking nearly impossible.
Philip Zinckernagel, Brennan Johnson and Joe Lolley will all be in competition for those spots, so unless the latter suffers a poor run of form and Johnson is converted into a centre-forward, it would be hard to see him getting a spot in there.
Spence was linked with Premier League clubs in the summer though and possesses a decent amount of Championship experience for his age, so he could potentially be a starter at right-back ahead of Osei-Tutu who seems to suffer with injuries quite a lot.