Luke Freeman was one of 14 new players to arrive at Nottingham Forest over the course of the summer transfer window.
After agonisingly missing out on a top-six finish on the final day of last season, Sabri Lamouchi and his side went about going one further, as the club brought in plenty of players who had proven to be quality at this level previously.
Freeman was undoubtedly one of those players. The 28-year-old had failed to make an impact at Sheffield United in 2019/20, but was a standout performer in the Championship for QPR, scoring eight goals and registering six assists across 43 league appearances the previous campaign.
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For a Forest side that lacked so much goal threat and creativity from midfield last season, Freeman looked to be a much-needed, marquee signing. Naturally, fans were delighted when he put pen to paper on a season-long loan move to the City Ground, but how has he performed since?
Welcome to Forest! What a great signing! 👊🏻💪🏻👍🏻⚽️🔴⚪️
— Henrik NFFC Johansen (@henjohansen1) August 28, 2020
That really is a great signing at this level. softens the blow of Cash going as he will definitely be on his way.
— spencer clay (@spencerclay2) August 28, 2020
This is massive!
— James Prentice (@jrprentice) August 28, 2020
Excellent signing, will give us some creativity going forward 👍🏻
— Graham Johnson (@de_Trooper666) August 28, 2020
— clint (@FlewittClint) August 28, 2020
It took Freeman, and Forest in general, a little time to find their feet in the Championship this season. The wholesale changes made in the summer failed to pay off, and meant that Sabri Lamouchi ended up losing his job due to a clear lack of cohesion and unity on the pitch.
Freeman scored Forest’s first goal of the season on matchday four, finding the net in a 2-1 defeat to Bristol City. It was a wonderful strike, and one that gave Forest fans a glimpse of potentially what was to come from the former QPR talisman.
But since that clash in October, Freeman’s form has gone downhill. The midfielder – after starting in Chris Hughton’s first two games in charge – was left on the bench in three of their next league games. He’s yet to score or assist since then, as well.
In November, Freeman picked up an injury and was subsequently sent to a specialist in Germany for treatment, which ruled him out of action for two months.
He has since returned to the side to help Forest record back-to-back away wins in the last week, defeating Coventry and Wycombe 2-1 and 3-0 respectively. In those games, Freeman has looked off the pace somewhat, which is perhaps to be expected from a player who hasn’t played regularly for the best part of three months.
He will be hoping that, with time, he can replicate the form he showed at his former clubs, which made Forest fans rejoice at his arrival in the first place. If he can do so, then there’s every chance that Forest will activate the option to make him a permanent arrival.