Dougie Freedman has publicly said that if any of his players wanted to leave, he wouldn’t stand in their way. So, should the same apply to one of Nottingham Forest’s prize assets? Henri Lansbury is considered, on his day, to be one of the best players in the Championship and Burnley have lodged a £4 million bid.
Forest are vulnerable and acting under the conditions of Financial Fair Play. Ideally, they wouldn’t want to offload Lansbury to one of their Championship rivals but if the player desires a move, Freedman would be compelled to allow him to leave. All in all, £4 million shouldn’t be sniffed at. Four million can fetch you a number of astute signings in this division which could strengthen the overall makeup of the squad.
If Lansbury does depart though, the Reds are in desperate need of a replacement. Current injuries to Reid, Cohen and rather cruelly, Robert Tesche doesn’t leave Forest with a huge amount of options. David Vaughan is a good stand-in but doesn’t offer the same pace and physicality that Lansbury provides. And yes, Ben Osborn is very promising but surely can’t be asked to shoulder all the responsibility in the middle of the park.
The answer could lie with Gary Gardner, the Villa midfielder who kept the team ticking while on loan last season. He may have picked up an injury at present but when he is fit and on form he can be the difference. If he came in on loan and Forest pocketed £4 million with the Lansbury sale, I’m sure there would be little complaints.
Lansbury is undeniably talented but in too many games he goes missing. If he’s not feeling up for the fight, then his side can really suffer. Forest are very undermanned at the minute and every player needs to fighting for his team. If he’s not up for the challenge then let him move on. Freedman gave him the captaincy as a vote of confidence and this was played back in kind with great performances towards the back end of last season. He featured 40 times and scored 11 goals in total.
So should Lansbury be allowed to move? Yes. Do Forest have a like-for-like replacement inbound? No. Reid and Cohen will be like new signings when they return to full fitness but that will not be before September and the injury to Gardner means no loan deal is imminent. Forest can also shuffle Chris Burke into a more central role as they did against Walsall but this isn’t ideal. If Lansbury stayed, the Reds would be the stronger for it. And if he was back playing like he was last term alongside the likes of Reid, Cohen and Gardner, who knows?