Nottingham Forest captured the attention of the English football community and media when they signed 22 new players ahead of their return to the Premier League this summer, and it is safe to say the newly-built team hasn’t delivered to the ambitious expectations set.
Following a review of the recruitment drive in the summer transfer window, Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis sacked both the club’s head of recruitment and head scout but it won’t be just the £150m spent on players that Marinakis will be regretful of.
Surprisingly, there were some targets missed by the powers at The City Ground during their rebuild of the Forest team with one player in particular who has been thriving ever since an offer from the club was rejected in the summer.
PSV Eindhoven and Netherlands star Cody Gakpo has been impressing at both club level and on the international stage during the World Cup and his success will be something that will be a hard watch for Marinakis.
The talented 23-year-old winger has been a stand-out performer for PSV over the season so far and considering his contributions in front of goal so far, would have been a hugely valuable asset to Forest in their pursuit to retain their Premier League status.
Over 14 Eredivisie appearances, Gakpo – who was hailed a “sensation” by Tom Allnutt – has scored nine goals, delivered 12 assists and created a whopping 12 big chances, as well as averaging 4.3 key passes, 1.9 successful dribbles, 3.6 shots at goal and 54.7 touches per game.
Not only that, the £35m Dutch international has been “on fire” and the linchpin in the Netherlands’ successful progression to the knock-out stages of the World Cup in Qatar, scoring three goals in three games and is currently joint-top goal-scorer in the prestigious tournament alongside Kylian Mbappe, Marcus Rashford and Enner Valencia.
Considering that Forest have scored the second joint-fewest amount of Premier League goals so far this season, it is safe to say that the signing of Gakpo would have been a much more worthwhile investment than Jesse Lingard who is currently collecting £200k per week at the club but has registered not a single league goal or assist over his 13 appearances so far.
With that being said, Gakpo has now become one of the most sought-after players in the world following his performances at the World Cup leaving little hope for Forest to reignite their interest in the winger and will likely now just remain a ‘what if?’ for Marinakis, Steve Cooper and the Forest supporters.