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
Nottingham Forest secured the signing of highly sought-after Middlesbrough player Djed Spence late on transfer deadline day.
The right-sided player, who has played a lot more game in a more advanced right-midfield role over the last year, has signed for Forest on a season-long loan deal.
Forest had to contend with Premier League duo Leicester City and Southampton, but eventually won the race for the 21-year-old.
Spence has featured three times in the league for Neil Warnock’s side thus far, taking his tally up to 70 appearances since his 2018 move from Fulham.
Forest, who had to wait a long time to address their lack of options in full-back positions, have come into the new month with three options on the right, and two on the left.
With Forest adding Spence to the squad late on Tuesday, we asked three of our writers here at FLW to share their thoughts on the signing…
This is a pretty puzzling one for me – especially if Spence has been signed as a right-back option.
Firstly, I’m confused as to why Middlesbrough would want to loan Spence to a Championship rival, and it’s come after Neil Warnock admitted he has been impressed with the youngster at the beginning of the 2021-22 season in his substitute. appearances and performances in training.
From Forest’s side, they already signed two right-backs in Jordi Osei-Tutu and Mohamed Drager, so adding a third doesn’t seem very necessary whatsoever.
Even if Spence is seen as a winger instead, it’s hard to see where he fits in considering Chris Hughton likes his wide players to cut inside – Spence is more of a direct player who will get down the line and put crosses into the box.
There’s clearly a talented player in there but it appears to be an acquisition that makes little sense – one of Osei-Tutu or Spence is going to be disappointed no doubt with their playing time by the time the January window comes around unless Hughton has a masterplan to accommodate both in the same line-up.
I think it’s potentially a really good signing.
I like Spence and I think it speaks volumes that he has been linked with Premier League sides in the recent past.
I think Nottingham Forest needed a player in his position and, in fairness, he is probably an upgrade on what they have so to get him in, even on loan, is a really smart bit of business.
Again, it speaks volumes that Middlesbrough fans were a little confused and bemused by his late exit but it is done now, and he gets the chance to show exactly what he is all about at Forest for the near term at least.
I think he’ll be a hit at the City Ground, and Chris Hughton will be pleased with being able to get him in.
Considering multiple Premier League teams were chasing his signature earlier in the summer, this is nothing short of a coup for Chris Hughton’s men, if you forget the fact they have about four or five other players to choose from in the right-back position.
Jordi Osei-Tutu seems to be a little injury prone and Jordan Gabriel has left – but they also have the likes of new signing Mohamed Drager, Carl Jenkinson and promising teenager Fin Back as options.
The only thing this signing will do if Hughton opts to play him at right-back is halt the progression of Back, so one of the other right-backs may need to move over to the other side of defence or play on the wing to have any sort of chance of getting first-team minutes.
Above all else, they needed a striker to challenge the likes of Lewis Grabban and Lyle Taylor to improve on their poor goalscoring record last term.
The return of Brennan Johnson has been a major boost – but this is a signing that won’t make sense until we see how Hughton utilises him.
It’s a bit baffling to me as an outsider, but Spence is a promising player so the East Midlands side could benefit from his services if he can show why Premier League teams were after him not so long ago.