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Sport Why Celtic beating Nottingham Forest to 28-year-old could be a blessing in disguise: Opinion

18:30  14 june  2021
18:30  14 june  2021 Source:   footballleagueworld.co.uk

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a crowd of people watching a football ball on a field: Charlie Wyke © Provided by Football League World Charlie Wyke

Nottingham Forest are yet to make their move in the transfer window as Chris Hughton carefully scans the market before strengthening his squad.

The Reds finished 17th in the Championship last season on the back of a haphazard summer which saw 14 new players arrive. Those wholesale changes failed to pay off, though, and a mixture of a lack of cohesion and firepower in the final third left Forest’s campaign fizzling out.

This summer, it is no secret that Hughton wants to strengthen his attacking options in a bid to solve his side’s goalscoring woes. Forest fired in 37 goals in 46 Championship matches in 2020/21, with only arch rivals Derby County scoring fewer goals. If he is to realise his ambitions and guide Forest towards the play-offs next season, then that simply has to be addressed.

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Naturally, a number of striker targets have been identified by the club, as they look to provide competition for 33-year-old Lewis Grabban following Glenn Murray’s retirement from the game. With Lyle Taylor also understood to be attracting interest from elsewhere, the addition of a striker, or maybe even two, certainly wouldn’t go amiss this summer.

One of those targets is Sunderland’s Charlie Wyke – the 28-year-old who scored 31 goals across all competitions for the Black Cats in 2020/21, helping them to the League One play-off semi-finals.

Sunderland’s failure to gain promotion for a third successive season has placed Wyke’s future in doubt. Forest are among those understood to have held talks with the striker, whose contract is up in a couple of weeks, as per the Northern Echo.

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But it’s Celtic who look to be firmly in the driving seat to land Wyke’s signature, with the Glasgow club looking to make significant progress and firm up their interest with a formal offer in the coming days.

Whilst nothing is confirmed until the player puts pen to paper on a contract, it very much feels as if Wyke is heading to Parkhead, as Ange Postecoglou looks to guide Celtic back to the top of Scottish football. The question is, is it that much of a blow to Forest?

Wyke is arguably one of the most dangerous forwards outside of the EFL when it comes to aerial ability. The striker’s main source of goals came from crosses into the box in 2020/21, with most of those chances being carved out by Aiden McGeady who ended the season with 17 assists to his name.

But whenever McGeady had a quiet afternoon, a similar pattern followed in regards to Wyke. In the first leg of their play-off semi-final against Lincoln City, the Black Cats gave themselves a mountain to climb as the Imps took a 2-0 lead into the second leg. On the night, McGeady’s threat was nullified, and Wyke’s physical prowess was unable to be used to full effect, having only three touches inside the area.

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Of course, to score 31 goals at any level of football is quite extraordinary and shouldn’t be disregarded. Charlie Wyke is a player who has a very clear eye for goal and would be a perfect fit for a team who can create crossing opportunity after crossing opportunity. But perhaps the biggest attribute currently lacking in Forest’s striking armory is raw pace. Lewis Grabban is now 33 and is hardly the quickest off the mark anymore. Neither was Glenn Murray, whilst Lyle Taylor is also approaching the age of 32.

At 28, Wyke no longer represents a young, up and coming option, nor does he represent a dynamic centre-forward who can run the channels and show the athleticism to lead the line in Hughton’s 4-2-3-1 system.

In and around the penalty area, Wyke possesses undeniable presence, having 208 touches inside the box in 2020/21. Off the ball, however, only 19 progressive runs were made (as per Wyscout), which perhaps underlines how little of an impact he has out of possession.

In a Chris Hughton system, much of the work off the ball is just as important off it. It’s exactly why the 62-year-old has hinted that Lewis Grabban, a natural out-and-out striker, may well used in a slightly deeper role next season due to his talent and quality on the ball to thus link up play. That perhaps leaves scope, then, for a quicker and more dynamic option to come in and play off the 33-year-old, run channels and get Forest working in the right end of the pitch.

Forest, unlike last year, are biding their time and are carefully monitoring the market, before taking the plunge and adding to what is now a much more trimmed squad following the announcement of the retained list.

Whilst stats may be impressive on paper, this summer about finding the missing part to the promotion jigsaw Forest have craved for a while.

Source

Update emerges on "outstanding" 32 G/A Forest-linked gem, Hughton will be buzzing - opinion .
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This is interesting!