Nottingham Forest bid farewell to striker Rafa Mir on Tuesday evening, with the club now expected to set their sights on signing a new centre-forward this month.
The Reds are desperate for cover up top after Mir was recalled by parent club Wolves and immediately sent out on loan to SD Huesca last night. This leaves 14-goal ace Grabban as their only out-and-out striker, and any sort of injury to the 31-year-old could be detrimental for the Reds’ promotion hopes.
Plenty of names have already been linked with a potential move to the City Ground, with reports claiming that Forest are leading the race for Aston Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia.
The 30-year-old – who is yet to make a single league start this term – is out-of-contract in the summer, and the club are expected to cash in on the Ivorian this month rather than let him leave for free at the end of the campaign.
The name on most Forest fans’ lips, though, is Newcastle United forward Dwight Gayle – another experienced striker who has enjoyed plenty of success at this level, much like Kodjia.
The 29-year-old scored 23 goals to help Newcastle win the league title in 2016/17, and also established himself as one of the most lethal marksmen in the league whilst on loan at West Bromwich Albion last term.
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The Telegraph claim that Newcastle want around £20m for his signature on a permanent basis, though, despite making only a handful of substitute appearances under Steve Bruce this season.
You feel that both would be costly for Forest, but the rewards of promotion to the Premier League are far, far greater, which only highlights just how important this particular signing would be for the club.
Two proven forwards at this level, then, but who would be the better option for Forest? Here, we take a look at their 2018/19 campaigns in further detail…
Kodjia helped Villa win promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs last term, scoring nine goals in all competitions for Dean Smith’s side and playing a total of 2306 minutes across 43 appearances.
It was Gayle who scored more goals out of the pair, though – the 29-year-old scored 24 goals in all competitions for the Baggies, playing just under 1000 more minutes than Kodjia across less appearances.
Gayle was a key player for the Baggies last term, forming a lethal strike partnership alongside Jay Rodriguez – who scored 22 goals in total – in a 3-4-1-2 formation, mostly.
Kodjia, meanwhile, was in and out of the team under both Steve Bruce and Dean Smith last term – the Ivorian made 20 league starts in total, and was often used as a left-sided winger under Smith due to the form of Tammy Abraham up top.
This perhaps explains why Kodjia’s pass success (83.9%) is slightly higher than Gayle’s (77.6%) – if he is playing out wide, then there tends to be more passes available to him.
Of course, it would be hard for both Kodjia and Gayle to get into the team ahead of in-form Grabban, so whether the former could be used as a left winger in Sabri Lamouchi’s 4-2-3-1 system remains to be seen.
Gayle’s best work came inside the penalty area, though, with the striker having slightly more touches inside the box than Kodjia, and that’s where most of his goals came from for Albion.
Gayle also hit more shots on target than Kodjia last season, but again, that could be largely down to playing more minutes and being involved through the middle.
Both players possess real pace and are a threat on the shoulder of the last man, and perhaps the fact that they were both offside 16 times last season shows their eagerness to get in behind the defence and race through on goal.
Getting in behind the defence is how Lewis Grabban mostly poses a threat for Forest, so both Kodjia and Gayle could be perfect for the lone striker role at the City Ground given the way Forest play and create chances.
Both players know what it takes to score goals at this level, but Forest need to ensure that either player ticks every box given the amount they are likely to cost this month.