Nottingham Forest spent more than £150m improving their squad over the summer with little success so far since returning to the Premier League, and are currently 19th in the table as a result of a run of bad form over their first nine outings.
The Garibaldi have picked up just five points out of a possible 27 so far, only one clear of Leicester City who are rock bottom as it stands, and it is clear that Evangelos Marinakis is not happy with what he has seen so far.
The Forest owner has sacked his head of recruitment and head scout as a result of the team’s struggle to stabilise in the top flight after making 22 new signings ahead of the new campaign, although he has maintained his trust in Steve Cooper’s philosophy for the team.
The manager signed a new deal until 2025 to remain in his role at the City Ground after massively overachieving in the Championship to secure Premier League promotion for Forest despite them being in the second tier’s relegation zone when he took the reins just over a year ago.
Cooper has many attributes which make him a good manager, but what makes him a great one is his experience in developing and nurturing youth talent over his career, so far something he achieved when he led England to win the Under-17 World Cup in 2017.
Not only can the 42-year-old apply that experience to his work at Forest, he could also save the owner millions by unleashing some of the rising stars that the Tricky Trees already have on their books.
One such young player who has been a standout whilst on loan with Coventry City this season so far is Jonathan Panzo, and he could potentially be the answer to Forest’s defensive nightmares which are unfolding this season.
Across nine appearances for the Championship club so far, the 21-year-old has delivered one assist, made 1.2 interceptions, 1.6 tackles and three clearances per game, won the majority of his duels (53%) and successfully completed 50% of his dribbles.
The talented Panzo, who was dubbed “immense” by BBC Sport writer Raj Chohan, completed a move to the City Ground in January but was sent on a season-long loan to Coventry this summer, where he has become the third top-rated player in the squad so far this term according to SofaScore.
Despite the youngster only being given one appearance for Forest last season, Cooper has been largely complimentary of the defender, hailing Panzo “exciting” saying upon his arrival at the club: “Jonathan is an exciting young player who can play a couple of defensive roles.
“Having excelled as a young player at Chelsea and England, he has good pedigree and we look forward to working with him.”
With that being said, the Forest manager may be regretting letting Panzo go out on loan in the first place but must be pleased that the youngster is excelling at Coventry. If the 21-year-old continues to flourish, he could find himself enjoying a more prominent role in Cooper’s first team next season.