A new manager usually means fresh opportunities for out-of-favour players but that’s not been the case yet for Joao Carvalho.
The Nottingham Forest playmaker found himself down the pecking order by the end of the Chris Hughton era but there had been signs of a potential renaissance in 2021/22.
He dazzled in their 2-1 EFL Cup win against Bradford City in August but failed to make the most of the Championship opportunities that followed and was an unused substitute in Hughton’s final two games at the helm.
The arrival of Cooper is yet to bring another chance to impress in the Forest first team for the 24-year-old and with the Reds rediscovering their mojo under the Welshman, it may be hard for him to force himself into contention.
Carvalho may not have a place in the new manager’s plans moving forward but the Portuguese attacking midfielder could yet play a somewhat unusual part in helping him get the season back on track.
The January window will be Cooper’s first since taking charge at the City Ground – offering him an opportunity to make changes to his squad midway through the 2021/22 campaign and cashing in on Forest’s number 10 could allow him extra money to strengthen his squad.
The attacking midfielder is still just 24, has more than 18 months left on his current contract, and has proven his quality in the past, so the East Midlands club should be able to recoup at least some of the £13.2 million that he cost in 2018.
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Reinvesting that money in the squad and allowing Cooper to bring in players that fit the system he wants to see the Reds play would make perfect sense and mean that too much emphasis is not placed upon the summer window.
On top of that, one or two new arrivals could be just what are needed if Forest are eyeing a late-season play-off push at the start of 2022.
There’s still a lot of football to be played before the end of 2021 and the start of the winter window, so it’s not out of the question that he could prove his worth in that period, but if Cavalho can’t force himself into the Welsh coach’s plans on the field, he could be vital in his plans off it.