Anderson Is A Red

Earlier this week, Nottingham Forest announced the signing of hot prospect Elliot Anderson – a versatile midfielder remarked for his tenacity, hard-tackling and potential to be a star in the Premier League. Signing on a deal worth up to £35m, Anderson becomes one of the clubs most expensive signings based on the total potential fee.

It’s been somewhat of a tentative weekend for the most part in the Premier League. June 30th is almost a separate transfer day; clubs scrambling to meet PSR regulations, with Newcastle United one of the teams in need most – reportedly, at the time [29th June], £50m over the limit. Nottingham Forest on the other hand – and thankfully so – were safe. Niakhaté & Mangala sold for a combined £50m+, they had satisfied the rules, but Newcastle needed a lifeline, and Forest could offer that, in a way.

The club have admired Elliot Anderson for some time, his versatility and ability to be somewhat of a backup for Morgan Gibbs-White were major factors in the purchase. A £35m deal was looked on with major concern by stakeholders, including myself, but the payment structure is heavy in installments, and includes a multitude of clauses – similar to Gibbs-White who signed for an initial £25m, rising to £42m dependent on various clauses. Young Anderson, 21, may be one of the clubs most expensive signings, after Gibbs-White & Sangaré, but the pressure seems much less than the other record signings – many fans aren’t sure what to expect, who he is, and why Newcastle United fans rate him quite as highly as they do.

Hopefully I can give you an understanding of the sort of player Forest have just recruited, and why he may be worth every penny….

Who is Elliot Anderson?

First of all, and perhaps most importantly to him, he’s a Geordie. Born in Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear, for him Newcastle United was the team closest to his hearty, the one for which he grew up supporting. Football is in his DNA – his father and other members of his family supporters of the Toon. His Grandfather, Geoff Allen, also played as a left-winger for Newcastle United between 1964 and 1968.

Signing at the age of just 8 years old, the talent of Elliot Anderson was clear from young – he had played for a local side, Wallsend Boys Club, for a period of time, but was soon snapped up by the Magpies, who at the time were managed by Alan Pardew – bit of a throwback!

While a mere academy prospect back in those days, the noise around Anderson started to grow, eventually earning himself a professional contract at the club in November 2019, before earning an extended contract on his 18th birthday a year later.

It would take two years for the prospect to make his debut, coming on against Arsenal in a 2-0 defeat in the FA Cup. His Premier League debut came in the same month, in a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal once more. There was clear signs of a great player, but it wasn’t the right time just yet.

Soon, he would be loaned out to Bristol Rovers, where he played 21 games scoring 8 goals in the process – a great scoring record for the midfielder who has been also known to drift out wide-left, just like his Grandfather, on occasion. A successful loan spell, with the St James’ Park crowd readying his return.

He would breakthrough in the 22/23 season – Forest’s debut Premier League season – ironically seeing his first goal for the club, in a professional sense, controversially disallowed against Nottingham Forest.

The Toon fanbase were incredibly reluctant to witness his departure, but Newcastle’s desperate PSR situation meant a sale on June 30th was the only way to avoid a points deduction. Selling one of their prospects, satirically nicknamed the “Geordie Maradona”, was a heartbreaking moment for the club, and indeed the player, but a necessary action to avoid a severe points deduction.

Anderson now starts his next chapter of his career at Nottingham Forest, a club that fought relegation twice, won twice, and now find themselves with an ambition to get higher up the league standings.

What will Elliot Anderson offer to Nottingham Forest? Is he worth £35m?

The topic of a players price when on the higher side is an awkward but unavoidable topic. £35m is one of the clubs most expensive fees for a player, and the conversation was bound to come up. It is a huge sum, but as mentioned before, Forest fans can find solace in a deal heavy in clauses and instalments, most for which likely wont be triggered, so the fee is likely far less. Could he be worth the full fee in the future though? Absolutely.

Elliot Anderson is a versatile player no doubt, with a strong build and great agility. While not blessed with pace, Anderson is known for controlling the tempo of a game – breaking down key moves from an opponent, and recovering possession – one area I actually think Forest lacked further into midfield last season. Anderson offers something very different to the other midfielders in the Garibaldi Red.

This week, following putting pen to paper, ‘The Athletic’ released an in depth look at how Anderson goes about the sport, with some interesting data shared. Using a position stats graphic, the Athletic revealed that the midfielder had spent 67% of his minutes played since the 22/23 season in Central Midfield – approximately 1,130 minutes, clearly his strongest, most played in position. Then, like his Grandfather, he has been known to play wide-left, where he spent 17% of his minutes, 10% as a left-sided midfielder, also with spells on the right side, but much less.

What does this tell us? Firstly, the left-side is occupied by Hudson-Odoi, it would be fair to say. And while he managed to stay fit for most of last season, he is known to have a proneness to injury, meaning Anderson could act as depth should the ex-Chelsea winger not be fit. Secondly, Morgan Gibbs-White is probably the most important cog in the Forest machine – lose him, it causes issues. The most goal contributions from any player since promotion. Anderson, while typically deeper, could play as a more forward central midfielder, I’d say being more successful in a 4-3-3, should Gibbs-White not be available. He adds something different – box-to-box, experienced in the Premier League, and with bucket loads of potential.

It’s worth noting, too, on a none-position related note, that due to his age – 21 – Elliot Anderson is exempt from the Premier League’s 25-man registration list for the summer window, but will have to be listed in the Winter window. A huge bonus, meaning until the Winter, Forest have an extra registration space available.

Crunching tackles. Glimmers of technical magic. Ambitions to be a goal scorer. Three big things you can expect from the young Geordie, hoping to make waves by the banks of the River Trent for his new club.

Welcome, Elliot Anderson.

*Article provided by Jamie Martin (Head Nottingham Forest Correspondent).

*Main image @NFFC Elliot Anderson announced as Nottingham Forest’s new signing.

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