So who are the new boys on Trent side? After a largely lower key transfer window compared to recent times, Nottingham Forest took a more reluctant and reserved approach until the last couple of days of January at least, making only a few signings, but who are these latest captures and how will they fit in?
Giovanni Reyna, more commonly referred to as Gio Reyna has signed on loan from Borussia Dortmund until the end of the season. Anyone who plays FIFA or Football Manager will have heard about the talented playmaker, but who is he? Sunderland-born Reyna has spent the entirety of his professional career playing in the Black and Yellow of Dortmund, where he has impressed the masses with his exciting and effective playstyle.
What is his play style? Reyna is an offensive playmaker, capable of playing anywhere behind the striker, but has mainly played centrally in his career. Forest would get the best out of Reyna by utilising his creative prowess, allowing him to play his game, taking players on, dribbling past players, and pushing the team forward by carrying the ball. Because Gibbs-White is most likely to be used in the middle, Reyna will probably play on the wing, which he is more than capable of doing.
What can we expect? With Reyna, we can expect a progressive player who is unafraid to take his man on and is always looking to do something with the ball. The American international is an intelligent player who always thinks a step ahead; on the ball, Reyna is dangerous; he can pick out a pass and create dangerous chances out of thin air and is always explosive when dribbling. The way Reyna plays gives Forest another offensive option, which they need. With Reyna, there are no significant concerns, which is good. He has struggled with injuries recently, but he has not had a major one in a while so that hopefully should be behind him, and he is 100% fit and ready to play.
My thoughts? Reyna is a signing I am ecstatic with, one of my favourite players to watch, skilful and deadly on the ball. This is a brilliant deal by Forest. We get a player who will add a lot to the team, and if the deal does not work out, then we don’t have to worry about him signing on. In my opinion, it is excellent business by Forest.
Rodrigo Ribeiro Is counted as one of the best talents in Portugal and one to look out for. He isn’t a signing who will likely appear often this season as he is only young, but Ribeiro is a great third choice and someone for the future. Coming in on a loan with an option to buy means it won’t affect Forest’s FFP this season but still gives us an option up top. Ribeiro appeared once for Sporting in the Champions League but has not had the opportunity to break through into the first team, but he has the chance to do that now at Forest.
What is his play style? Ribeiro is another versatile signing who can play many positions and roles. Rodrigo likes to be given the freedom to play his game, roaming both central areas and the flanks to find open space to get the ball. The Portuguese wonderkid is a striker who does it all, really; he likes to press the opposition and force them into errors, link up with teammates to help keep possession and bring the ball forward, and have the ball at his feet ready to take on the opposition whilst also being a clinical striker with a killer instinct in front of goal.
What can we expect? With Ribeiro, we shouldn’t expect much early on. We need to remember that he is still a young talent with little experience, so he will take time to adapt. I would expect Ribeiro to be a 3rd choice striker, but with his ability, he could be a surprise this season. If he does get some solid playing time and the chance to prove himself, we will have a forward who is fast, strong, a calm finisher, skilful and exciting on the ball. Ribeiro has no significant faults in his game but will have areas to sharpen up when he gains more experience. Overall, Ribeiro looks to be a striker for the future and someone who will quickly grow in value with more exposure. Another signing that I think was an astute business from Forest for a youngster with a lot about him.
What looks to be the most controversial deal out of the three is Belgian international Matz Sels. Sels has moved around a couple of times in his career, having a brief spell at Newcastle before finally ending up at Strasbourg, where he became a fan favourite and proved his worth. After mistakes by keepers this season, Forest saw fit that another goalkeeper was needed, but in a January window, the chances of signing a top-class keeper and matching with Forest going for a net-zero approach the chances became impossible. Sels leaves Strasbourg with a fine reputation at the ‘Stade De La Meinau’, making 164 appearances in his six-year stay.
What can we expect? With Sels, we can expect an experienced keeper who is confident in his ability and prepared to put in a shift. In his time at Strasbourg, Sels has shown himself as a keeper who is ready to face more shots than expected, communicates with his defence, and controls his area; Forest has struggled with a calm and composed keeper who’s prepared to control and command his area. Like Turner, Sels’ distribution is his weak point and somewhere that can cause the odd issue, but the Belgian has never really put his team under immense pressure from his distribution. I personally believe we are getting a solid enough keeper for the time we signed him and the price we paid. We would never get a top-of-the-range goalie, but bringing in someone who can be a more calming presence and get us over the line into next season is good enough for me.
In my opinion, I believe that Forest have had a solid window, considering it has been more unique compared to the last three windows. Forest set themselves with the task of bringing in key players while maintaining a net zero window, and they have done just that. Bringing in two forwards is crucial, considering the recent injury history between our attackers; adding some skilful and exciting young depth is perfect and gives us more options. As with Sels, we got in a cheap enough keeper who should do the job; for me, that is all we needed in this window. To make a profit, lose some deadwood and bolster our squad is impressive to do all in one window, impressive from the club; now we need the new signings to crack on and help the lads!
*Article provided by Pierce Bramwell (Nottingham Forest Correspondent).
*Main image @NFFC Gio Reyna signs on loan from Borussia Dortmund.