Manchester United will have a decision to make on the future of James Garner in the summer, with Nottingham Forest bound to keep one eye on the midfielder’s situation.
Garner has enjoyed a fruitful campaign in the Championship, spending the first half of the season at Watford before being recalled by United with a view to him getting more game time under his belt. Despite playing over 1,200 minutes for Watford, United’s eagerness to see him play more regularly shows how highly regarded he is by the Red Devils and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Since joining Forest, Garner has gone from strength to strength. He’s made 11 starts out of 12 in a Garibaldi shirt, and produced his best performance of the season in a 1-1 draw with Brentford before the international break – an afternoon which also saw him take the captain’s armband after Lewis Grabban was replaced in the second half.
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It’s a bit of a catch-22 situation for Forest, though. They will be relying on Garner to show his class and help them secure their Championship status between now and the end of the campaign, but each time he impresses, the temptation to send him to a Premier League club next season will be getting bigger and bigger.
If Forest do manage to lure Garner back to the City Ground next season, we take a look at one potential winner and one potential loser…
It took a while for Cafu to find his feet at the City Ground, after initially arriving on loan from Olympiacos in the summer. The midfielder had to adapt to the physical nature of the Championship, something which he managed to cope with in time.
The arrival of Garner has seemed to really help Cafu settle down, though. The pair have played together in midfield on a number of occasions due to Ryan Yates’ injury problems.
Garner’s ability to play slightly deeper has given Cafu the license to show his attacking qualities and drive forward to help join attacks.
If Garner does arrive in the summer, then Cafu will hope to reignite that partnership and understanding in the middle of the park.
Loser: Harry Arter
Out with the old, in with the new?
Arter has proved to be a hugely disappointing and underwhelming signing for Forest, since he penned a permanent move from AFC Bournemouth in the summer.
The 31-year-old has been limited to only 13 appearances in the Championship – eight of those coming as starts – and he has endured a tough time with injuries.
There could have been an exit for Arter in January, too. Football League World understand that he was offered to a foreign club on loan, but wage demands proved to be a stumbling block.
As Chris Hughton looks to strengthen his squad, he will also be keen to trim it in order to make way for new arrivals. You’d expect Arter to be one of the first to leave if the opportunity arose.