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Nottingham Forest might miss out on Ruslan Malinovskyi

One of Nottingham Forest’s transfer targets is now in talks with another club, according to Fabrizio Romano…

What’s the word?

The Italian noted on Twitter that Ruslan Malinovskyi had entered into discussions with Marseille over a potential move to the Ligue 1 club.

He tweeted: “Excl: Olympique Marseille are in talks to sign Ruslan Malinovskyi. Ukrainian midfielder wants a new challenge, as OM are negotiating with Atalanta and player side.”

Romano had detailed earlier this month that the Premier League club were interested in the wantaway midfielder, but the 29-year-old now seems poised to move elsewhere.

It’s a huge blow for Cooper

After recently securing the signing of Remo Freuler, Steve Cooper will be disappointed to see the Switzerland international’s Atalanta midfield partner heading elsewhere.

The 30-year-old and Malinovskyi have been regulars for the Nerazzurri in recent years and were mainstays in the side which finished third in the 2020/21 Serie A season. That campaign actually saw the latter rank as “Serie A’s best playmaker” when accounting for assists, big chances created and key passes.

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He also impressed last season with his offensive output for his team and even ranked as one of the outstanding attacking midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues.

He ranked in the top 3% for shots total and top 7% for shot-creating actions, instantly marking him out as a constant threat to the opposition’s goal. He can create and score, as outlined with six goals and five assists in the league last season. Adding these qualities to a Forest team who scored 73 times in the Championship last season could have been devastating.

His progressive passes were also exceptional, with an average of 5.79 per game ranking him in the top 5% across Europe. Jesse Lingard would have thrived off his service, as Malinovskyi would have the vision and ability to find the Englishman in dangerous pockets of space on the half-turn.

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Similarly, the likes of Taiwo Awoniyi would have feasted on his deliveries. With an xG assisted of 0.32 per game, again ranking him in the top 6%, his creativity would likely be rewarded more often with a fine finisher up front like the Nigerian, who netted 17 Bundesliga league goals last term.

Malinovskyi’s figures mark him out as one of Europe’s most creative attacking midfielders, and the links to Forest would have been flattering for both player and club.

It represents a big blow for Cooper that, for all their signings made over the summer, this is the one they seem set to miss out upon. The Forest manager will surely be left scratching his head after this one, especially given the possible pull of ex-Atalanta team-mate Freuler.