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Opinion: How Nottingham Forest exodus in this position could be crucial for January transfer business

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The one position where Nottingham Forest seem to be well-stocked at this moment in time is at right-back, despite two of their options not being in the frame for a senior first-team appearance anytime soon.

Jord Osei-Tutu is likely to be out until at least December with his severe hamstring injury, only making two appearances for the club in August before being ruled out of action, with Carl Jenkinson remaining frozen out of the first team even after Steve Cooper’s appointment.

They do, however, have Djed Spence, Mohamed Drager and Fin Back as three options they could utilise either as a full-back or a wing-back out on the right-hand side, providing Welshman Cooper with plenty of options to choose from.

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Add Loic Mbe Soh into the mix, who has been injured for much of the season but is closing in on a return and could be available for their fixture against Reading after the international break, and Forest would surely cope if an injury crisis occurred.

The 20-year-old may be a natural centre-back, but he played out on the right against Middlesbrough back in mid-September and would be able to fill in there if more preferable options are unavailable.

And let’s be honest, he might not get much of a chance in the middle if John Souttar arrives at the club, with the Hearts central defender being linked with a January move to the City Ground by Football Insider.

The Scottish international would join Joe Worrall, Scott McKenna, Tobias Figueiredo and Rodrigo Ely as options in the middle, potentially pushing Mbe Soh out wide even if a back three is adopted for the long term.

This leaves the second-tier side with quite a few players out on the right and if they want to be successful in the January window in staying with EFL Profitability and Sustainability rules and securing their long-term financial health, whilst also recruiting the quality needed for a potential promotion push, at least two players that can operate in this position ideally need to go.

Many fans are probably already admitting defeat at losing Spence to Middlesbrough in January and rightly so, because it would be hard to see Wilder adopt a back five and not recall a talented wing-back.

The one tiny positive of losing him is the fact Forest are likely to be paying at least a fair chunk of his wages, so that will give the club some financial breathing room and for the long term, the introduction of permanent signing Drager as a regular starter wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

As discussed in a previous opinion piece, the Reds may also be well-served terminating Osei-Tutu’s loan if he doesn’t return before January, even though his loan deal is likely to have been cheaper with Arsenal probably able to take on his salary.

And finally, our attention must also turn to Carl Jenkinson, who will probably be the hardest to get off the books after making just five competitive appearances last term.

Even terminating his contract at this point wouldn’t be a cheap option, but it’s clear they need to sever ties with the ex-Arsenal man either temporarily or permanently to leave enough space on the wage bill to recruit in other areas, with a striker potentially at the top of the list if boss Cooper wants to play two up top as he did at Swansea City.

The 29-year-old is just one of three right-backs that could potentially leave – and looking at the options they have – it would be foolish not to try and get two out of the door to make sure they can operate in the transfer market freely and not be under any restrictions from the EFL in the future.

Jenkinson and Osei-Tutu would probably be the two that fans would prefer to see leave at this stage – but the former is unlikely to attract too much interest at this stage and it may well be Spence who leaves instead – in what will be a painful experience for Forest fans.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: How Nottingham Forest exodus in this position could be crucial for January transfer business

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