Former Nottingham Forest striker Nigel Jemson believes star defender Joe Worrall is keen on a move to the Premier League this summer, speaking to Football FanCast on the 24-year-old.
The centre-back has been the subject of widespread interest from the top flight this summer, with Burnley, Crystal Palace, West Ham United and Norwich City all reported to have been monitoring his situation at the City Ground over the past few months.
However, it’s Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton that have most recently expressed an interest in Worrall, having seen their star central defender in Jannick Vestergaard move to league rivals Leicester City last Friday.
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The 24-year-old has missed Forest’s opening three games of the season due to a calf injury he sustained just before the 2020/21 campaign began, but is expected to return before the transfer window closes, making him a possible target for the Saints to pursue for the rest of this month.
After helping his side concede at a rate of less than a goal per game in the Championship last season, he proved to be a key figure for the East Midlands side and helped them to compensate for their poor attacking form.
But he might not be there for much longer if Southampton or another side match Forest’s valuation of the defender – and pundit Nigel Jemson believes he would be willing to leave the City Ground despite graduating from the club’s academy.
“Joe (Worrall) is a local lad who has done really well,” Jemson said to Football FanCast.
“He went up to Rangers and played under a great manager in front of a big amount of fans at Ibrox. He learnt his trade there and came back a better player for it.
“He has come into the first team at Nottingham Forest on a regular basis and performed at a very good level.
“He’s going to attract attention. Every player’s dream in the Championship is to play in the Premier League and I’m sure Joe is no exception to that.”
Although Worrall could leave between now and the end of August, which would be a real blow considering how much they’ve missed him so far this season, the one saving grace is the fact they will be able to receive a sizeable fee for him.
This isn’t just due to his quality, but also the fact he signed fresh terms at the City Ground last year to extend his contract until 2024. Because of this and how reluctant Chris Hughton’s side will be to let go of him at this late stage in the window, any club would need to pay a considerable eight-figure fee to secure him before the end of this month.
However, Worrall does deserve his chance in the Premier League after serving his current side well in recent years – and would only progress further if given the adequate opportunity to shine in the top flight.
At 24, he has both his age and experience on his side, something that will make him an attractive option to Southampton who have already made a high-profile signing from the Championship in Adam Armstrong this month.
And as Jemson pointed out, Worrall’s time at Rangers in front of a big crowd can only help him to perform on the Premier League stage. His current side’s support isn’t too shabby either.