McLeish’s transfer targets for a new era
Now the January transfer window is upon us, a new era under Alex McLeish can really begin. However disappointed, shocked and confused I was at the sacking of Sean O’Driscoll, McLeish was in my eyes a good appointment by the board. Some might say he is a long-ball merchant, but he has said he will play a style that suits the players in the Forest squad.
Having said that, after defeats to Blackburn and Oldham, a win against Peterborough is a must. If he then leads Forest to victory against our biggest rivals down the A52, a more accurate judgement could then perhaps be made. His dealings in the transfer window will also have a massive impact on fans’ opinions of him as manager, which brings me nicely to my views on who he should bring in this month.
As of yet Stephen McLaughlin is the only permanent arrival and I confess to not knowing much about the lad, but as a winger he plays in a position that we lack in, which is a good start. I expect he will be a squad player and continue his development in the U21 side, but he could play a part in the first team, especially with Andy Reid being injured for the next few weeks.
Alan Hutton and Jermaine Jenas have left Forest after their loans. It has been revealed that we tried to re-sign Hutton but he wanted to see if he could get a deal in the Premiership. McLeish looks set to concentrate on other areas of the team, with steel and pace in particular being highlighted.
So who ticks these boxes and might be available? It is a difficult question but one that McLeish and his new assistant Peter Grant are paid to make. A right winger should be their priority, someone like Wilfried Zaha or Tom Ince, but obviously those two would only leave for the Premiership and are probably out of even our budget.
Someone who again might be a long shot but is not getting games at Man City is Scott Sinclair. More realistically, Neil Danns has been linked with us and would add experience and drive to the Forest midfield.
In the strikers department, former Forest star Rob Earnshaw has been told he can leave Cardiff after his loan spell in Israel was cut short. Although Ishmael Miller didn’t impress last season at Forest, I have been impressed with him during his loan spell at Middlesbrough and it would be very interesting to know if we have a recall option. Luciano Becchio would be an excellent addition up front and Becchio himself tweeted that he is signing for a new club.
Elliot Ward and Gonzalo Jara have today become our first senior arrivals of the window and although perhaps not inspiring signing, they are ones that were probably necessary. Other defenders we could see arrive are Ronald Zubar of Wolves and Man City player Dedryck Boyata (who was on loan at Bolton last season and recently finished a spell with FC Twente). Although with the arrival of Jara the Zubar deal looks less likely, I sincerely hope that more quality is brought in at the back to prevent us shipping goals in the manner we have recently.
A different solution to this problem is a change of goalkeeper and with Lee Camp being told he can leave (which is a shame considering he arguably was the best keeper outside the Premiership two years ago) he is now likely to be replaced by Rob Green or Craig Gordon, both of whom I see as more than adequate replacements.
In the meantime Camp will be dropped in favour of Karl Darlow, who has been recalled from his loan spell at Walsall. This to me looks a bit drastic and hopefully it’s not too long before a new keeper arrives to replace Camp on a permanent basis.
I’d be happy if at the end of the month we have signed a pacey right winger who can also cross the ball well and a ball-winning midfielder, and made the Billy Sharp deal a permanent one, along with regaining some form with a win over Peterborough and at least four points from the games against Derby and Watford.