With clubs across Europe spending very little in January’s transfer window, Nottingham Forest’s activity was similarly subdued. But the few ins and outs were definitely in the right direction.
The long-expected move of Glenn Murray to Nottingham Forest finally happened as the 37-year-old joined on a permanent transfer until the end of the season from Brighton & Hove Albion. Despite only five appearances on loan at Watford this season, the striker is more than familiar with Chris Hughton and should offer the Reds a different option upfront.
James Garner arrived on loan from Manchester United, having also been at Watford this season. The highly rated midfielder, who turns 20 next month, has been likened to Michael Carrick by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
And alongside Filip Krovinović and confirmation of Anthony Knockaert’s stay, Hughton has bolstered the attacking options in a side that has struggled not only in front of goal but in creating chances.
Danny Preston was recalled from a loan spell at Grimsby Town, presumably for Hughton to have a closer look given that the left-back is out of contract in the summer. While Will Swan will play out the rest of the season at Port Vale, gaining valuable first-team experience for the promising striker. Thankfully, Brennan Johnson stays on loan at Lincoln City with no bids from supposedly interested clubs.
In a surprising, but perhaps not unexpected, move, Miguel Ángel Guerrero was moved on to Spanish side Rayo Vallecano after only five months at the City Ground. The 30-year-old forward joined on a one-year contract in September, and despite showing some good touches in the nine appearances he made, it shows clear intent from Hughton to make his mark on the squad.
With Nicholas Ioannou heading out on loan to Aris after a similarly short spell, and Zach Clough joining Wigan last month, the first-team squad now numbers 29 — although that’s currently reduced due to injuries to Jack Colback, Ryan Yates, Scott McKenna and Abdoulaye Diallo while Samba Sow limped off against Barnsley and Harry Arter only just back in training. The rumoured departures of the latter two clearly never transpired.
There is still much to be done with the squad, but it appears that Hughton is slowly but surely beginning to address endless recruitment mistakes. The new manager has marginally improved Forest’s results in the time that he’s been here — five clean sheets in the past nine league games. And marginally improved will hopefully be enough to avoid the relegation battle that is happening.
The summer is when real progress can be made. And next season. And next January’s transfer window. And probably the summer after that. But the battle now is to stay in the Championship, which the additions this transfer window reflect.