Sunday, 6 September 2015

Now is the Window of our Discontent

Actually, it might not be. It's hard to know for sure until we've seen all our new arrivals play. But, in terms of numbers in and out and wages saved, and considering the restrictions that we've been working to, I think we've done a pretty good job.

Let's look at the outgoings first. It was always likely that we'd lose one of our 'crown jewels' and so it proved, with Michail Antonio sealing his £7m move to West Ham United on transfer deadline day. We'll miss his pace, power and spectacular goals, of that there's no doubt. However, we have at times been over-reliant on him and it'll be interesting to see how the team's style of play changes now he's not here. The profit made from his sale should hopefully see us clear of the transfer embargo next summer - and that had to be the club's highest priority.

After being kept out of the squad by a 17 year old Academy player against Cardiff; Jamie Paterson's days always appeared to be numbered. Whether he will rekindle his early Forest form at Huddersfield, or instead fade away in a similar style to Radoslaw Majewski after his loan there last season, remains to be seen.

It made sense to allow Stephen McLaughlin to move on, as it did to release Danny Collins, Dan Harding and Greg Halford. And - though it may have cost the club something in terms of payoffs - getting Jamie Mackie, Djamel Abdoun and Majewski off the wage bill just had to be done.

Given the interest shown in Henri Lansbury and Michael Mancienne during the transfer window, I think we got off pretty lightly in terms of the players who left the club.

So, how about our new acquisitions? Matt Mills has made a pretty solid start to the season, as had Jamie Ward, until he was struck down by an unfortunate but predictable hamstring injury. Hopefully it won't keep him out for long or reoccur, as his energy and tenacity was plain to see in his early matches.

It's a bit early to judge Daniel Pinillos and Kyle Ebecilio yet, though based on the Cardiff match, the former could be a decent signing. He looked composed on the ball and got forward well in support of Antonio (who mostly ignored him).

I remember Chris O'Grady looking lively against us for Barnsley a couple of seasons ago, though by all accounts he's gone off the boil somewhat since he joined Brighton. Hopefully a return to his home city can rekindle his previous form. With our paucity of options at front at the moment, he was certainly a signing we needed.

Ryan Mendes is a total mystery to me, so how good a replacement for Antonio he'll turn out to be remains to be seen. I don't think it's likely that he'll chip in with 15 goals and nearly as many assists though. Nelson Oliveira could be quite a coup, as he was reportedly lined up for a deadline day move to La Liga side Valencia before Forest stepped in. He didn't set the Premier League alight with Swansea, but anyone who's in double figures of international caps for Portugal must surely have something about them.

And finally - and presuming his loan is also approved - Jonny Williams is a skilful midfielder who Dougie Freedman knows well, having managed him at Crystal Palace. A younger lookalike of David Vaughan, he plays a similar style of game too. Indeed his ability to carry the ball led some Ipswich Town fans to dub him 'Jonnyesta' during his loan spell there.

These players all come with some risk. After all, there are reasons they've all been released or loaned out - be it loss of form or injury. That's the reality of the market we're currently shopping in. Breaking our transfer record three times or paying a £2m loan fee just wasn't an option this close season. Bearing that in mind, the list of players we've brought to the club is - at face value anyway - pretty impressive.

Of course, it wouldn't be a transfer window at Forest without some kind of foul-up. This time it came in the form of the successful, then failed loan signing of Ben Hamer. The long and public courting of Michael Frey was also mildly embarrassing, though one can understand the reasons behind us ultimately pulling the plug on the deal. The on and off pursuit of Burnley's Lukas Jutkiewicz was fruitless, but as this meant that Henri Lansbury remained at the club then this wasn't too much of a loss. The final two (hopefully three) loan signings were incredibly drawn out too, with two of them confirmed nearly a full three days after the transfer deadline and one of them still to be rubber stamped. Presumably that was due to the club being extra cautious not to jump the gun, which is probably no bad thing.

The proof of the pudding will be in the football, there's no doubt about that. There's also no doubt that falling foul of the League's FFP embargo in the first place is firmly the club's fault. One can only hope that Fawaz will have learnt from the difficulties of this transfer market and that he'll ensure we never end up in this position again. But, on the whole, I'd say we've made the best of the situation we were in. Hopefully the players we've brought in will settle quickly and we'll push on from here.

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