Why Nottingham Forest should prioritize a new deal for Ryan Yates
The 22-year-old is set to enter the final 18 months of his present deal at the City Ground which expires in the summer of 2021.
Yates rose through the youth ranks of Forest prior to his promotion to the first-team ahead of the 2016-17 campaign but he had to go through loan spells at Barrow in the National League, as well as at Scunthorpe United, Notts County and Shrewsbury Town before making his professional bow for the Reds the last term.
The Lincoln-born homegrown prospect burst on to the scene at the City Ground during the 2018-19 campaign and started as many as 15 games in the Championship over the course of his debut season, scoring once in the process.
Yates has found himself down the pecking order at his boyhood club in the ongoing season, with new manager Sabri Lamouchi preferring the likes of Tiago Silva and Ben Watson as the mainstays in the middle of the park.
Competition for places in the midfield as been quite stiff at the City Ground this term, with veteran Watson, as well as summer recruits Silva, Alfa Semedo and Samba Sow, all vying for spots in the playing XI.
While Watson and Silva have been regular fixtures in the starting XI so far, the others have struggled for regular minutes. Ryan Yates, too, has found his involvement restricted to just four appearances in the Championship, one of which came from the bench.
The 22-year-old’s most recent involvement for Forest ended in a red card when he was sent off midway through the fixture against Bristol City that eventually ended in a goalless draw back in November.
To put things into perspective, Yates still has more than 18 months left to run on his existing deal but Nottingham Forest would be wise to tie him down to fresh terms at the earliest.
Along with Matty Cash, Joe Worrall and teenager Brennan Johnson, Yates is a part of the academy quartet that has been working wonders.
Notwithstanding the fact that the 22-year-old has only played a bit-part role under Lamouchi so far, Nottingham Forest just cannot afford to lose his services in the foreseeable future.
In fact, Yates could well play a substantial role during the hectic festive period for Forest, with Samba Sow yet to return from his hamstring injury.
Furthermore, with Watson nearing the end of his playing days at 34 and Semedo only on loan from Benfica, Forest need to look at Yates as one of their midfield mainstays moving forward.
The Lincoln-born starlet showed last season that he is more than capable of doing a job for the club in the middle of the park. A new deal would put Forest in a strong negotiating position should any potential suitor come knocking on the door.
Forest rewarded Matty Cash with a new long-term deal, following his wonderful progress this season. While Yates hasn’t really been in the thick of things so far, securing his future would make perfect sense for a number of reasons.
Relying on loanees is fine enough from a temporary perspective but Forest definitely need to keep hold of their homegrown prospects, keeping in mind their Premier League ambitions.
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All in all, finalizing a new deal for Yates in the coming months is an absolute no-brainer for Nottingham Forest.