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 have completed their first summer signing with goalkeeper Ethan Horvath joining on a three-year deal.
Horvath arrives at the City Ground having left Club Brugge at the end of last season, making 64 appearances for the Belgian side.
The 26-year-old has made seven appearances for the USA national team, and now joins Forest to provide competition for Brice Samba.
Samba has been Forest’s number one for the past two seasons, being named in the PFA Team of the Year in the 2019/20 season.
The Congolese shot-stopper kept 14 clean sheets in the Championship last term, but Horvath arrives to provide him with competition.
Can we see Horvath becoming Forest’s number one? If so, what does that mean for Samba?
Brice Samba has had a pretty comfortable time since his move to the City Ground and he has been by far their main goalkeeper over the last two campaigns.
However, Ethan Hovarth’s arrival this summer will be the first major challenge to his situation as the Red’s first choice-keeper moving forwards you would imagine.
Hovarth is not being signed as a young keeper with potential to sit behind Samba and develop over the next few years, nor has he arrived as a player entering the latter stages of his career. The 26-year-old will have ambitions to not just be a player that sits on the bench all season long next term.
It should be a good challenge for Samba and one that he is more than capable of reaching. It might even push the keeper’s game to the next level and inspire him to deliver his best form on a consistent basis for Nottingham Forest next season.
Having two able first team goalkeepers in their squad is not going to hurt the Reds and if anything that is the sort of competition that you need if you are going to enjoy a successful season in the Championship.
Brice Samba will certainly have his work cut out.
The towering goalkeeper is among the best stoppers in the Championship but there’s an argument to say that he perhaps got a little bit comfortable at the City Ground last term.
That’s not going to happen this term.
Ethan Horvath has real pedigree due to his experience of domestic, European and international success and that will be a real asset to Chris Hughton’s side.
It’s going to be an interesting battle for the number one jersey and Samba will need to pull out all of the stops if he’s to keep hold of it.
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Brice Samba shouldn’t be too disheartened by this transfer – and should see this as a way of maintaining his performance levels instead with new competition in his department.
Quite frankly, Jordan Smith and Abdoulaye Diallo weren’t really effective challengers last year with the 27-year-old playing in all but one Championship game and being part of a side that conceded less than a goal per game last season.
Considering they finished 17th and were toothless up top for the majority of the 2020/21 campaign, this is a reasonably impressive record and one that Samba should take an equal share of the plaudits.
Forest fans will be hoping Samba can thrive under this pressure and if he then fails to perform up to expectations, Horvath will be ready to prove his point if he’s given his chance in the Championship.
In a move that initially seems like a blow to Samba, it could potentially push him on and prove to be a great thing for his career.