Why Nottingham Forest should hold on to Joao Carvalho amidst interest
According to Fotospor (h/t Nottinghamshire Live), Nottingham Forest playmaker Joao Carvalho has emerged as a transfer target for Turkish top-flight club Trabzonspor ahead of the mid-season trading period.
The 22-year-old has been recommended by the board to manager Unal Karaman as a new signing to bolster the attacking ranks, as the Trabzonspor continue their hunt for the ‘ new Caleb Ekuban’, who came through the door on a permanent deal from Leeds United in the summer. (Fotospor h/t Nottinghamshire Live)
Carvalho, who arrived at the City Ground for a club-record fee of £13million in the summer of 2018, enjoyed a promising debut season in the EFL Championship last term, registering 4 goals and 8 assists in 38 league appearances for the Reds.
Having featured as a regular in the playing eleven under former managers Aitor Karanka and Martin O’Neill at the City Ground, the Portuguese starlet started the ongoing campaign with an injury layoff that ruled him out of action for a few games in August before he eventually made his return in the 3-0 victory over Derby County in the EFL Cup.
The 22-year-old has since struggled to nail down a regular starting role under Sabri Lamouchi, who has preferred summer recruit Tiago Silva alongside veteran Ben Watson in the middle of the park for most of the games in the Championship so far.
Carvalho has been restricted to just 6 league starts for Nottingham Forest so far this season while featuring as a substitute on a further 6 occasions. The playmaker has played a part in 12 out of Forest’s 18 league fixtures till date (at the time of writing), scoring and assisting one apiece.
The Portuguese U-21 international rose through the famous youth setup at Benfica before his promotion to the club’s ‘B’ team back in 2015.
Carvalho bagged 9 goals and 7 assists in 79 appearances for Benfica B in the Portuguese second-tier while also making the step up to the first-team to clock up 10 appearances.
To put things into perspective, Joao Carvalho is yet to live up to his hefty price tag at the City Ground but Nottingham Forest would be wise enough to keep hold of him amidst interest from the Turkish top-flight for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Carvalho is still very much a work in progress at 22 and it would be fair to say that the fans at the City Ground are yet to see the best of him in that famous red jersey, given that he came through the door as a highly-rated creative prospect in 2018.
Secondly, the Portuguese youth international is one of the very few out-and-out No.10s currently at Lamouchi’s disposal and losing him in January, particularly with Forest very much in the promotion mix, could be detrimental to their hopes of completing a dream return to the Premier League following an extended absence from the forefront of English football.
Given that the likes of Silva and Watson have formed a formidable pairing for Forest in the middle of the park, Carvalho’s lack of starts in the Championship this season seems completely understandable.
However, in fairness to Lamouchi, he has made an arduous attempt to include both Silva and Carvalho in his plans, considering that Silva, unlike Carvalho, is also capable of playing in a deeper role.
It is unfair to expect young players to rack up loads of goals and assists immediately after coming at a new club and a league, no matter how talented they are, and it is a no-brainer that Carvalho deserves more time to prove his worth.
As evident from the contract extensions for Ryan Yates and Matty Cash, Forest are trying to secure the futures of some of the standout young players in their ranks and selling the playmaker wouldn’t make sense in that regard.
Moreover, Forest are under no financial pressure to cash in on the 22-year-old, who still has several years left to run on the five-year deal that he signed while completing a move to the City Ground in the summer of 2018.
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To that end, the Reds should keep hold of Joao Carvalho and resist the temptation to cash in on a player who seems to have loads of potential and plenty to offer in the years to come, unless, of course, Trabzonspor put up an offer on the table that they simply can’t refuse.