This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand…
When Nottingham Forest opted to draft in Yohan Benalouane from Leicester City in January 2019, they would have been hoping that the defender could them reach new heights in the Championship.
Following an impressive loan stint at Atalanta, the Tunisia international joined the Foxes in 2015 from Italian side Parma.
Although he failed to establish himself as a regular starter for Leicester during his time at the club, he did manage to make 16 appearances in the Premier League before moving to Forest.
Given that Benalouane had illustrated some signs of promise in the top-flight, it was always going to be intriguing to see he how would he fare in the second-tier with the Reds.
A mixed start to life at the City Ground resulted in the defender receiving a red card in his third appearance for Forest as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Birmingham City.
Whilst Benalouane was given another chance to prove himself by former manager Martin O’Neill after serving his suspension, he couldn’t prevent his side from slipping out of contention for a play-off place.
The defender’s debut season was then brought to a premature end as he was sent-off for the second-time in 14 appearances during a clash with Sheffield United in April.
Since this particular fixture, Benalouane has been overtaken in the pecking order by Joe Worrall and Tobias Figueiredo who have formed a fruitful partnership in the heart of defence in recent months.
Whilst the defender has been unlucky when it comes to injuries this season, the fact that he has struggled to cope with competitiveness of the Championship will be a concern for boss Sabri Lamouchi.
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If Benalouane is unable to prove his worth between now and the end of the season, Forest ought to consider cutting ties with him during the summer transfer window as doing so could free up a portion of their wage budget which may be used to draft in a quality replacement.
For the sake of the 32-year-old’s career, a move elsewhere could give him the chance to play regular first-team football which is a luxury that is no longer guaranteed at the City Ground.
Having failed to live up to the initial hype surrounding his arrival, it would be somewhat of a shock if Benalouane remains a Forest player heading into the 2020/21 campaign.
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