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Update emerges on Nottingham Forest’s pursuit of defender linked with Blackburn, QPR, Middlesbrough and Stoke

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Championship side Nottingham Forest are set to follow in Blackburn Rovers’ footsteps by offering Hearts centre-back John Souttar a pre-contract deal, as per the Daily Record.

The 25-year-old has been the subject of widespread interest both north and south of the border, with Celtic and Rangers both thought to be monitoring his situation at Tynecastle Park ahead of a potential approach for his services.

However, he is reported to be more interested in plying his trade in England after spending the entirety of his career in Scotland, with several second-tier sides currently in the running to recruit him on a free transfer with his contract at Robbie Neilson’s side expiring in the summer.

Quiz: Can you name which club Nottingham Forest signed these 20 strikers from?

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Lewis Grabban

Stoke City were the team previously thought to be in pole position for his signature with brother Harry currently recovering from his ACL injury and now Leo Ostigaard set to return to Brighton and Hove Albion this month.

But Blackburn were the first side thought to have made a move to recruit the Scottish international by offering him terms to move to Lancashire, with Steve Cooper’s men set to follow with their own contract offer shortly.

Forest have also been linked with AFC Bournemouth’s Steve Cook in recent weeks, but with the 30-year-old set to seal a move to Queens Park Rangers, it now seems as though they have set their sights on a younger option in Souttar.

The 25-year-old has suffered from several severe injuries over the years but after re-establishing himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet at the Scottish Premiership side, making 18 league appearances this term, he looks set to earn a move away.

The Verdict:

This is a move that makes a lot more sense than Cook’s potential arrival, mainly due to the fact he’s a younger player that fits into CEO Dane Murphy’s recruitment strategy and he’s someone manager Cooper can develop.

It remains to be seen if anyone does head towards the exit door at the City Ground if he does come in, but having a wealth of centre-back options can only be a good thing for the East Midlands outfit who often play with three at the back under the Welshman.

However, his arrival would mean they have Souttar, Joe Worrall, Scott McKenna, Tobias Figueiredo, Rodrigo Ely and Loic Mbe Soh as options at the heart of defence, although a couple of these could be gone in the summer in time for the 25-year-old’s arrival.

And in fairness, Mbe Soh could probably do a job at left wing-back in the absence of Max Lowe and Jordi Osei-Tutu, with Djed Spence potentially on the verge of being recalled too, but the promotion chasers would probably prefer not to have square pegs in round holes.

Ely is also yet to make his first-team debut, so the addition of Souttar could be a useful one, providing he can stay injury-free. And for the potential arrival himself, the prospect of joining an exciting project at the City Ground is an offer he may be too tempted to turn down.

It remains to be seen whether they can beat Blackburn to his signature though.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Update emerges on Nottingham Forest’s pursuit of defender linked with Blackburn, QPR, Middlesbrough and Stoke

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