Why Nottingham Forest should complete a move for Lukas Jutkiewicz
According to The Athletic (h/t Nottinghamshire Live), Nottingham Forest have been linked with a sensational swoop for Birmingham City hitman Lukas Jutkiewicz, with manager Sabri Lamouchi keen to boost his team’s promotion push in the Championship with some new signings in January.
As per the report, Lamouchi has acknowledged the need to bolster his team’s forward line during the mid-season trading period, with Wolves loanee Rafa Mir expected to return to his parent club before the end of the transfer window after failing to make much of an impact at the City Ground.
Jutkiewicz, on the other hand, continues to be a hugely popular figure at St. Andrew’s and is currently the Blues’ top scorer in the Championship this season with 8 goals in 26 appearances.
The 30-year-old, who initially joined Birmingham City on loan from Burnley in the summer of 2017 before making his stay permanent, has plundered 38 goals in 144 league appearances for the Blues so far and continues to be a key cog in manager Pep Clotet’s plans.
The Southampton-born striker racked up 14 goals and 10 assists in the Championship last season and while he hasn’t really reached the same heights this term, Jutkiewicz has still been one of the shining lights of an otherwise disappointing first half of the campaign for the Blues.
Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest continued their impressive run of form after a minor blip in December that saw the Reds go winless for five league games.
Forest picked up a third consecutive win with a 3-2 victory over Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Day, thanks to Joe Lolley’s strike followed by a brace from Lewis Grabban.
Forest climbed up to 4th in the standings as a result of that victory but Lamouchi needs to be aware that things can still go either way as far as the club’s promotion hopes are concerned, with all four playoff spots still very much up for grabs and plenty of teams in contention.
Grabban once again proved his worth as a bonafide goalscorer in the Championship with that brace on New Year’s Day that took his overall tally up to 14 in the season but Forest desperately need to beef up their striking cavalry heading into the crucial second half of the season.
With Rafa Mir’s future uncertain and Welsh starlet Brennan Johnson still very much an unproven prospect at this level, a potential injury to Grabban in the coming months would render Forest seriously short of options in front of goal.
To put things into perspective, Forest need to find a striker with the necessary skill set to provide cover and competition for Grabban and Lukas Jutkiewicz certainly fits the bill at the City Ground as a goalscorer with proven pedigree in the Championship.
As per Whoscored, Jutkiewicz averages a staggering 7.6 aerial duels per game in the Championship this term, meaning that he could well add that much-needed physicality to Forest’s attack while providing more of an aerial threat inside the box as compared to someone like Grabban, who averages only 0.9 aerial duels per game.
The 30-year-old might have failed to cut the teeth in the Premier League but he remains a proven striker at the Championship level and Forest can certainly look forward to him making an immediate impact should a move to the City Ground materialize during the mid-season window.
With that in mind, however, it remains to be seen whether Birmingham City would be ready to sanction a departure for their most influential striker midway through the campaign, given that Jutkiewicz is currently their top scorer in the Championship.
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Nevertheless, Nottingham Forest shouldn’t hesitate to test the Blues’ resolve over Lukas Jutkiewicz with a handsome bid in the coming weeks as he could well be the man to make all the difference in the playoff race.