One of the things right at the top of Nottingham Forest fans’ transfer wishlist this summer will involve the name Joe Worrall.
The defender has enjoyed another impressive campaign in the first team, and continues to go from strength to strength in a Garibaldi shirt after a rewarding loan spell with Rangers in 2018/19. The centre-half, who was 21 at the time, made 32 appearances for the Glasgow club after spending the season north of the border.
Whilst the focus for Chris Hughton will be to make signings and strengthen his squad this summer, and trimming the squad will be beneficial in helping him do so.
But in a transfer window which is likely to be dictated by the power of clubs’ finances, Forest fans will be praying that interest in Worrall will stay away, amid previous interest from Burnley.
One of the main reasons behind this is because Worrall has been a class act alongside Scott McKenna, forging a solid understanding with the Scotsman and helping Forest boast an impressive defensive record under the tutelage of Hughton. The Reds currently boast the fourth best in the division, conceding 39 goals in the Championship this term.
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If everything goes to plan, then Forest will line up on the first day of next season with McKenna and Worrall starting as the two central defenders, and if they perform to how fans have become accustomed to, then they should be the first-choice pairing for a lengthy period of time.
But injuries could well interfere, as they have done this season, meaning that the likes of Tobias Figueiredo and Loic Mbe Soh will be leaned upon.
Mbe Son has had to bide his time since joining Forest from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, making only seven appearances across all competitions, featuring six times in the Championship.
The 19-year-old is still a raw talent, but Chris Hughton has praised his attitude towards training and working hard on multiple occasions.
Whether there could be better ways to aid his development than playing as backup to McKenna and Worrall is another question.
We have seen Brennan Johnson, Tyrese Fornah and Jordan Gabriel thrive in League One this season, and they will all become key first-team players under Hughton next term.
A season away on loan, whether that be England’s League One or France’s Ligue 1, could be beneficial for Mbe Soh. This would give him plenty of first-team experience and make him aware of the physicality mens’ football often has to offer.
Mbe Soh’s time will come and Worrall will move on one day, and when that time comes, Forest fans may be in dismay for a short while.
But the former may well be a ready-made replacement for the homegrown hero, and experience of heading out on loan, as Worrall once did, would bode him well.