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Opinion: Nottingham Forest’s long-term Spence replacement could be 24-year-old League One man amid £10 million transfer claims

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Nottingham Forest fans would have been delighted to have seen the news last week that Djed Spence’s loan deal would be continuing as normal until the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

There were fears that Chris Wilder was going to recall the 22-year-old back to the Riverside Stadium after his scintillating form for Forest – and the fact that there was a major COVID outbreak at Boro as well.

But due the form of Isaiah Jones at wing-back, Spence has been allowed to remain where he is for now but Forest supporters ideally would like him to sign on a permanent basis.

Thanks to his starring role in the FA Cup win this weekend over Arsenal though, you’d imagine Premier League clubs will be loitering with intent this summer, with a Football League World exclusive report revealing that top flight teams are interested in Spence.

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Lewis Grabban

With a £10 million price-tag quoted, that will be out of Forest’s reach should they not reach the promised land for the 2022-23 campaign, so some forward planning may be required in order to bring in a Spence replacement for next season.

Richie Laryea has recently arrived from Toronto and he can cover a number of positions, but someone else would have to come in as well to facilitate for Spence’s departure and the ideal candidate could be plying his trade in League One in the form of Chiedozie Ogbene.

The 24-year-old Rotherham United player was naturally a winger and that is why Brentford brought him over from Ireland in 2018 from Limerick after scoring eight times in 32 league appearances.

Under Paul Warne though at the New York Stadium, Ogbene has been converted into an attack-minded wing-back with no real defensive responsibilities – and he’s flourishing.

You may look at his stats this season in League One, see one goal and one assist and believe that Ogbene shouldn’t even be looked at – but his data tells another story.

In the league this season, Ogbene has attempted 9.39 dribbles per game with over a 56 per cent success rate, attempts 7.53 crosses per match with a 32 per cent success rate and performs 23.55 duels a match, with a 48 per cent success rate (all stats via Wyscout).

Added to that are his 5.57 progressive runs per match, you can see why Ogbene has been a key player for Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland side in the latter stages of 2021, with five caps and two goals to his name.

Obviously Ogbene’s defensive stats don’t stack up that well compared to the other full-backs or wing-backs in League One – 3.92 defensive duels, 2.66 interceptions and 5.52 attempted recoveries in the opposition half per game – but that’s all because in the Rotherham team he is playing in he’s well covered by the midfielders and other defenders in the side.

All in all, if Forest are planning for life without Spence next season then Forest could do worse than take a punt on Ogbene – with his contract expiring at the Millers in the summer as well and considering he turns 25 years old before his deal runs out he wouldn’t cost the Reds a penny.


25 years old, UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, Preston North End fan

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Nottingham Forest’s long-term Spence replacement could be 24-year-old League One man amid £10 million transfer claims

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