Spezia striker M’Bala Nzola rejected a move to Championship side Nottingham Forest this summer according to the 25-year-old’s agent, who spoke to journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.
The Angolan, who was also reportedly the subject of interest from Fulham and West Bromwich Albion last month, was made available for a transfer by current side Spezia over the summer and the player wished to remain in Serie A.
He nearly got his wish after seemingly closing in on a move to Genoa, but the deal was ‘cancelled’ and despite contact from clubs in Turkey and England, Nzola still wished to stay in Italy as his first choice.
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But with the 25-year-old becoming open to a move abroad, his agent revealed to Gianluca Di Marzio: “We are talking to İstanbul Başakşehir, the player would like the destination. On him, also from Turkey there was Riezspor. We are waiting for a positive response from the club to go to Başakşehir. The Istanbul team has always been the boy’s favourite destination, after Serie A.
“(There was contact from Nottingham Forest) but it was in the Championship, we preferred to go to Turkey. Just as we have not followed up on the proposals of Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal.”
Sides in Turkey have until September 8th to conclude their transfer business so this deal remains a high possibility for the forward – but a move to the Championship until January is now impossible – though Nzola doesn’t seem keen to come to the second tier if his agent’s comments are anything to go by.
He scored 11 goals and recorded four assists in a successful 25 appearances in the Italian top division last term, proving to be crucial to Spezia’s survival chances and steering them away from relegation danger.
But if a deal to go to Turkey fails to be struck within the next week, the Angolan international faces the prospect of remaining with a side who were prepared to lose him this summer, though he could showcase his goalscoring prowess again if he’s given another opportunity at the Stadio Alberto Picco.
This is yet another blow for a Nottingham Forest side who were also reportedly rejected by Sint-Truiden striker Yuma Suzuki, who was in fine goalscoring form in the Belgian top division last season.
From the end of the last campaign and even before that, the one position that desperately needed to be strengthened was their centre-forward area, something they have failed to do in the months they had to get a deal over the line.
New signing Xande Silva can do a job up front, but he mainly operates as a winger and they have already brought in a few faces to support Lewis Grabban and Lyle Taylor up top. Starlet Brennan Johnson has returned from his loan spell at Lincoln City and Philip Zinckernagel has come in on loan from Watford, supplying creativity that was also needed during the summer.
But they will be heavily reliant on Lewis Grabban and Lyle Taylor to perform after failing in their quest to recruit a centre-forward or two. It’s not for the want of trying – the two reported rejections and Josh Maja’s collapsed move showcase that.
However, you could argue they needed to get a deal done for a forward early on in the window to prevent the current situation they are in.
Whether this failure will end up being costly for Chris Hughton remains to be seen, but a forward seems to be the missing piece to the puzzle for what looks to be a fundamentally strong Nottingham Forest side overall.