In the summer, Nottingham Forest’s transfer mission seemed to be recruiting as many right-backs as they possibly could.
In fairness to the East Midlands side, Carl Jenkinson only made three Championship appearances last term, with Cyrus Christie leaving the club on the expiration of his loan spell and Jordan Gabriel making a permanent exit.
So they could just about get away with recruiting two new additions in that area to make them more competitive for the 2021/22 campaign, having struggled in the previous term down in the bottom half of the table.
Have Nottingham Forest had a higher or lower average attendance compared to these 23 sides this season?
Although their defence was reasonably solid, conceding at a rate of less than a goal per game, they struggled for goals and needed another threat out wide to not only defend, but surge forward and create attacking opportunities.
Jordi Osei-Tutu was the first right-back to arrive during the summer and was initially thought to be coming in as the East Midlands side’s first-choice in that position, but the deadline day signings of both Mohamed Drager (permanent) and Djed Spence (loan) have left Forest with a surplus of senior options in this position when everyone returns to full fitness.
Looking back, Osei-Tutu’s injury was probably why the second-tier outfit opted to recruit another two right-backs, but you can’t help but look at this situation as being unnecessarily expensive.
Jenkinson is likely to be on a decent wage, they are likely to be paying the majority of Spence’s salary after arriving on loan from a Championship rival, Drager came in permanently so that’s a financial burden they will have to deal with and it remains to be seen whether they contributed a loan fee for Osei-Tutu or were forced to pay a percentage his wages.
Having four senior right-back options comes with a heavy cost, after all.
At this stage, many people would probably pick the former to depart out of any after seeing him fail to make a real impact at the City Ground, although no clubs are likely to come in for him in the short-term with his contract expiring next summer.
Meanwhile, Spence is doing exceptionally well and Drager could be in line for a place in the first-team squad after the international break, so this leaves Osei-Tutu as the man they may be able to offload at some point.
Agreements in football nowadays seem to include millions of clauses, so whether they could terminate the 23-year-old’s loan contract early remains to be seen, but it doesn’t look like he will be fit anytime soon judging by Steve Cooper’s comments on him.
It may not be a big financial benefit to end this temporary agreement with Arsenal potentially paying a chunk of his wages during his time at Forest, but this is about more than money at this stage with 19-year-old Fin Back waiting patiently.
There will be a debate over whether he’s ready to play Championship football yet or not, but with Spence, Drager and Back as options, that should be enough to get Cooper’s side through the 2021/22 campaign.
Loic Mbe Soh is also set to return from his injury before the January window and though his natural position is at centre-back, he could potentially fill in at right wing-back if desperately needed.
It might seem like a harsh decision to terminate Osei-Tutu’s agreement in a couple of months considering he’s barely had an opportunity to make an impact, but a couple of places may need to be freed up to allow others to come in during the January window.
The forward area is one position they would probably like to address, so it would make sense for the 23-year-old to make way in an already crowded position for someone who can fill an area of need, for a side potentially setting their sights on the play-offs after recovering well from their dreadful early-season form.