Chris Hughton’s hopes of re-signing Nottingham Forest loanee midfielder James Garner this summer have been dealt a huge blow.
That’s according to a report by The Mirror, who claim that Manchester United are keen to send the midfielder on a loan deal abroad this summer in a bid to continue his development, following his highly successful spell at Forest.
This is likely to come as a huge blow for Hughton, who, following the 20-year-old’s final game for the club on Saturday, clearly stated his desire for Garner to return to the City Ground ahead of next season, saying: “James knows what we think of him. And Manchester United know what we think of him. All I can say is we’ve been absolutely delighted with him.
“He’s come in and made an impact. Four goals from a midfield player in less than half a season is a wonderful return.”
Having an impact is a rather modest way of describing Garner’s influence on the Forest side.
Since his arrival at the club back in January, the defensive midfielder has been in sensational form, scoring four goals, as well as making an average of two tackles, 1.7 interceptions, 1.1 key passes and taking 1.6 shots per game over his 19 Championship appearances, culminating in an average WhoScored match rating of 6.98 – ranking him as Forest’s best performer in the second tier.
As such, if Forest were to miss out on a deal to bring the player – whom the former Watford manager Vladimir Ivic dubbed as “one of the most talented players in England” – back to the club this summer, it would be a devastating blow to the 62-year-old’s hopes of putting together a side capable of a much more respectable finish than this season’s 17th place.
Thus, it would appear a highly advisable move for Forest to attempt to convince United at the earliest possible opportunity that the best place for the £3.6 million-rated midfielder to continue his development is at the City Ground – before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cements any plans to send the 20-year-old to Europe this summer.