This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more
Nuno da Costa will be keen to make an impression on Nottingham Forest boss Chris Hughton in pre-season.
The 30-year-old joined Forest from Strasbourg in January 2020, but has since made only 13 appearances for the Reds.
Last season, da Costa was shipped out on loan to Belgian side Royal Excel Mouscron, scoring six goals in 25 appearances for the club.
The Cape Verdean is now back with Forest for pre-season, and the forward made a positive impact in their pre-season friendly win over Alfreton at the weekend.
He came on as a second-half substitute before setting up Will Swan for the Reds’ winning goal, in a 2-1 win at the Impact Arena.
After scoring 37 goals in 46 games last season, Hughton will be keen to strengthen his attacking options this summer and he will be in the market for a new striker.
What lies in store for da Costa, though? Here, we discuss…
The situation of Nuno da Costa at Nottingham Forest has been strange really because he is a player that clearly possesses some talent but he has not been able to showcase that at the City Ground for one reason or another to date.
The changes in managers is not going to have helped his cause and now Chris Hughton faces a massive decision over what to do with his future.
The 30-year-old had a decent enough loan spell with Royal Excel Mouscron in Belgium last season and he was an impressive performer for the Reds during their pre-season fixture against Alfreton.
That would suggest that Hughton should at least consider him in his thoughts as he builds his squad fo the start of next season.
However, the age-old saying of one swallow does not make a summer rings true here. The forward clearly has a lot of work to do over the coming weeks and some convincing to do.
It will be up to him to show the right attitude in and around the training ground to prove to Hughton he is ready to come back into the fold at the City Ground.
Forest are not in a position where they can go out and sign the best attacking players in the division or proven names as they might have been able to do a few years ago.
Therefore, giving Da Costa a second chance might be within their interest and he is certainly someone that has the potential to make an impact if he gets the chance.
I’m not sure that we can make a judgement based on one pre-season game, to be honest.
While Nuno da Costa did well over the weekend we have to remember that a game against Alfreton perhaps isn’t the sort of acid test needed to see if he’s ready to kick on in the Championship.
Chris Hughton is looking to build a team that can kick on in the second tier and I have real doubts as to whether the 30-year-old can do it on a regular basis at this level.
Forest need to look forward and I think that da Costa is someone who should be moved on and replaced by someone that Hughton can get behind and rely on to become a regular source of goals.
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I remain unconvinced that Da Costa will do anything in the Championship and one good pre-season performance against a non-league team won’t change my thinking.
I think that a lot was expected of Da Costa having scored goals in France’s top division in the previous season, but Sabri Lamouchi barely started him at the back end of the 2019-20 campaign and by the time September 2020 came around, he wasn’t really in Forest’s plans hence the loan to Belgium.
Da Costa scored just six times for Mouscron last season which isn’t exactly setting the world alight, but like everyone else he will be given the chance to impress Hughton who will be seeing him for the very first time as a Forest player in the flesh.
If he can perform well against the better teams that Forest will be playing then he may very well end up being thrown back into the Championship squad, but I think that they can loan or purchase better strikers and Da Costa should be one that Forest should be looking to get rid of.