Summer transfer rumour mill in full swing at Nottingham Forest

Asmir Begovic of Bournemouth.
Asmir Begovic of Bournemouth.

The summer transfer rumour mill is in full swing at the City Ground as Nottingham Forest manager Martin O’Neill prepares for a promotion push in his first full season in charge.

The biggest question mark hangs over talented Portuguese midfielder Joao Carvalho, who has been linked with a move to Greece.

Forest paid a club record £13 million for him to Benfica a year ago and Forest fans are desperate to see the 22-year-old remain at the City Ground.

Olympiacos, also owned by Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis, are one of the clubs believed to be keen on the playmaker.

A move for Calvalho for them seems to rest on what happens with attacking midfielder, Kostas Fortounis.

The Greece international has been a key figure for the club, having made more than 150 appearances since moving from Kaiserslautern in 2014.

Fortounis’ contract is due to expire next summer, and although he is in talks about extending that deal, it is claimed West Ham United are keen on him and if negotiations collapse on extending his contract, they may look to cash in before he becomes a free agent and turn their attentions to Carvalho.

Martin O’Neill’s side have been linked with a £2m move for Oxford United’s Northern Ireland international Gavin Whyte, who could end up replacing Joe Lolley if the Reds star ends up making his big move to newly-promoted Aston Villa.

Forest are said to have made a £2 million bid for pacy winger Whyte, following his impressive season in League One.

Oxford boss Karl Robinson has been told by the club’s board that he doesn’t need to sell players this summer, but said: “Any bids well above the market rate could prove tough to turn down”.

Whyte made the switch from Irish Premier League outfit Crusaders 12 months ago, penning a three-year deal.

Lolley has been heavily linked with a move to Aston Villa ever since Dean Smith’s side were promoted with Forest reported to want £15 million for their star winger.

Prolific Ayr United striker Lawrence Shankland has also been linked with Forest, and is said to have three teams to choose from as he ponders his next move – including one from “a sleeping giant-type club”.

Shankland is a free agent as his Ayr contract ends this summer, and his Scottish Championship scoring exploits has put the 23-year-old firmly in the shop window.

The Reds, Hull City and Sunderland were all said to have taken an interest, back in February, while Swansea City had a bid rejected during the winter transfer window, and Celtic and Rangers are also reportedly keen.

Another rumoured target, Uruguay international striker Cristhian Stuani, says he will consult his family before making any decision on his future.

The 32-year-old is set to leave Spanish club Girona after their relegation from La Liga saw his buy-out clause halved.

Formerly of Middlesbrough, Stuani scored 23 goals in all competitions for club and country last season and has attracted plenty of interest.

Former Stoke and Chelsea keeper Asmir Begovic is also said to be on O’Neill’s shopping list – a move made more possible after Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe gave a new deal to Artur Boruc, who kept Begovic out of the side for much of last season.

Meanwhile, the Reds’ on-loan defender Molla Wague has been linked with a move to Greece.

The centre back spent the second half of the campaign at the City Ground on loan from Udinese, making 11 appearances and scoring three goals – including finding the back of the net on his debut, to clinch a 2-1 victory over Brentford.

He is now on the radar of Panathinaikos as they look to strengthen their defensive ranks, according to reports in Greece.

It is unsure as yet whether Forest will make a move to permanently sign Jack Colback after 18 months on loan at the City Ground.

He has another year left on his Magpies contract, but Newcastle are likely to look to sell the midfielder this summer, or at the very least loan him out for the final 12 months of his deal.

On-loan defender Sam Byram will discuss his West Ham future this summer, but the chances of him breaking into the side are slim with Ryan Fredericks and Pablo Zabaleta ahead of him in the pecking order, plus the emergence of Ben Johnson this season.

O’Neill has said he would be keen to have Byram back permanently at the City Ground but believes the defender will want to stay and try to prove himself in East London.

Forest defender Michael Hefele has been using the off-season to continue his recovery from an Achilles injury, as has fellow injury victim Hillal Soudani, and will be like two new signings.

Centre half Hefele has been out of action since January, so has not yet had the chance to catch boss Martin O’Neill’s eye, after the he took charge later that month.