Former Nottingham Forest forward Nigel Jemson believes the club have pulled off a coup by luring Middlesbrough’s Djed Spence to the City Ground on a season-long loan deal, speaking in an interview with The Transfer Tavern.
The 21-year-old arrived in the East Midlands with Anfernee Dijksteel keeping him out of the first-choice right-back spot at the Riverside Stadium, but also entering a right-back department at Forest that already looks crowded.
Not only do they have loanee Jordi Osei-Tutu, Carl Jenkinson and promising youngster Fin Back as options in that position, but they also went ahead and recruited Mohamed Drager from Greek side Olympiacos on deadline day and added Spence to their ranks as their final signing of the summer window.
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This more than made up for the loss of Jordan Gabriel, who signed for former loan club Blackpool permanently in the summer after interest from the Seasiders and Lee Johnson’s Sunderland.
Earlier in the window, it looked as though Spence may have been heading to the Premier League with Everton, West Ham United and Norwich City all previously said to have been monitoring his situation on Teesside and Tottenham Hotspur previously expressing in July 2020.
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However, he opted to join a side who are now bottom of the Championship table, but could be rejuvenated by their win away at high-flying Huddersfield Town at the weekend and the imminent appointment of Steve Cooper.
One man who is particularly pleased with Spence’s signing is Nigel Jemson, who told The Transfer Tavern: “You are surprised, when he has been linked with Premier League clubs and when that doesn’t happen, he comes to Nottingham Forest.
“Yes, it’s a coup for us.
“Whether Middlesbrough wanted a big fee from the Premier League clubs to try to cash in and they weren’t prepared to pay it, I don’t know.”
After seeing the 21-year-old linked with a move to the top flight, it was something of a surprise to see Spence go to Forest, but he will richly benefit from this time at the City Ground if he stays in the starting lineup.
At both the Riverside and the City Ground, he will continue gaining senior minutes in front of big crowds and one more year in the Championship will only go on to boost his hopes of gaining a first-team spot in a Premier League side.
A move to somewhere like Everton or West Ham, where it was unlikely he was going to be a regular starter straight away, could have been detrimental for his career so it’s good to see him thriving in the second tier again.
He will also be able to showcase both his defensive skills and attacking prowess if Steve Cooper operates with wing-backs like he did at Swansea City and interim boss Steven Reid did at the weekend.
The return of Jordi Osei-Tutu will be a concern in terms of his first-team chances, but it’s now down to him to retain his starting spot with such a high amount of competition in the right-back area.
Why Forest invested in three right-backs this summer is a mystery with their forward area to address, but Spence won’t care as long as he records a regular number of appearances.