As far as big-money signings go, Joao Carvalho to Nottingham Forest probably hasn’t been the biggest success story ever.
The Reds paid a whopping £13.2 million to Benfica in 2018 to bring the attacking midfielder to the City Ground, hoping that he’d be the instrumental figure to bring Premier League football back to the club.
Carvalho played 31 Championship games in his first season, scoring four times and assisting a further eight goals and that showed he did have creativity – but his second campaign was a flop as he featured just 23 times, scoring once.
Not wanting him around for the 2020/21 season, Forest and Sabri Lamouchi sent the Portuguese player out on loan to Spanish second tier side Almeria, but his 31 LaLiga 2 appearances for the club have failed to muster up a single goal.
It’s unlikely that they will opt to turn the loan deal into a permanent one because of that, so with two years left on his Forest contact Carvalho is in a bit of a catch 22 situation this summer.
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According to Nottingham Post journalist Sarah Clapson though, there’s a slight chance that the 24-year-old could be given a fresh chance to prove himself to Hughton in pre-season.
Carvalho had departed weeks before Hughton arrived to take over from Lamouchi, so if he can make an impact before the new Championship campaign gets underway then we may see some sort of rebirth for the former Benfica ace.
Considering the club paid an eight-figure fee for him, it would be good if Carvalho could come back to Forest and prove his worth in pre-season.
But seeing as though he’s failed to pull up any trees over in Spain’s second tier this season, is he really going to return a new player or like the one that occasionally dazzled in his debut Tricky Trees season?
Many Forest fans will probably be surprised if Carvalho is in and around the first-team when the 2021/22 season kicks off, but considering the player is only in his mid-20’s it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he kicks on and starts to show why he cost so much money.