According to The Nottingham Post, Forest boss Aitor Karanka has confirmed that signing a defensive midfielder is his priority before the end of the transfer window.
The Post also reported that one of Karanka’s targets, ex-Burnley man Dean Marney, has been training with Aston Villa – although Steve Bruce’s side cannot make any signings while their financial problems continue.
Karanka has also targeted Jack Colback, who spent the second half of last season on loan from Newcastle at the City Ground and has been banished to the U23 squad by Magpies boss Rafa Benitez.
However, one man who Karanka signed while he was manager of Middlesbrough would top both of these and could be a driving force behind a Forest promotion push next season.
Adam Clayton signed for Middlesbrough from Huddersfield under Karanka in 2014 and immediately formed a strong midfield partnership with Grant Leadbitter. Last season, with Karanka having been replaced by Garry Monk and then Tony Pulis, he was used less at the heart of the Boro midfield as they finished fifth and lost in the playoff semi-final to Villa.
Now valued at £2.7m by Transfermarkt, the 29-year-old should look link link-up again with his former boss.
Boro are hardly likely to want to strengthen a rival but if Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis was to sanction a big enough bid, Clayton could be the perfect solution to Karanka’s quandary. His industrious nature and fondness for a tackle would allow the creative attacking players that have signed this summer such as Diogo Goncalves to flourish.
The Manchester-born man would also prove to be a better signing than Marney or Colback as he has far more ability to get about the pitch and has a better eye for a pass.