Why Nottingham Forest must keep Britt Assombalonga

Nottingham Forest's Britt Assombalonga celebrates scoring his sides first goal

Newly relegated Championship side Norwich are reportedly ready to make a fresh bid for Forest's Congolese striker. Here's why the Reds must not accept.

Nottingham Forest's Britt Assombalonga celebrates at full timeNottingham Forest's Britt Assombalonga 

Only a matter of days ago, Norwich looked nailed on to sign Fulham's hitman Ross McCormack to aid their mission to return to the Premier League. More recently though it appears that fellow promotion hopefuls Aston Villa have moved into pole position to sign McCormack, leaving Norwich with no option but to look for an alternative striking addition.

According to the Daily Mail, Norwich have already had a £7 million bid turned down for Nottingham Forest key man Britt Assombalonga, but now that the wheels have fallen off their approach for McCormack, Norwich are seemingly considering returning to the Assombalonga deal. 

From a Forest point of view, however, Assombalonga being linked with a move away from the City Ground is the last thing that the supporters will want to see. The 23-year-old missed the majority of last season due to a knee injury, but has proven his worth at Championship level with an impressive 15 goals in the 2014/15 season.

Factor in his 23 League 1 goals in 2013/14, and the ex-Peterborough player is clearly someone who knows his way around the Football League. It is absolutely crucial that he is still a Forest player when the transfer window shuts on August 31st. 

Britt Assombalonga celebrates after scoring the first goal for Nottingham Forest Assombalonga celebrates after scoring the first goal for Nottingham Forest

Not only does Assombalonga's goalscoring ability make him a prized asset, but his value is further increased by the fact that there aren't many proven finishers around at his level. In a league like the Championship, an in-form striker can be the difference between a mid-table finish and a promotion charge, and the prize of promotion is becoming increasingly lucrative, with higher promotion payments on offer. But the lack of genuine lethal Championship attackers means that a club like Nottingham Forest, that has had to tighten its purse strings over recent years, simply cannot afford to cash in on arguably their biggest hope of a play-off spot. 

If Forest do decide to sell, it's very possible that concerns could spread amongst the squad about the club's genuine top-tier ambitions. Could the departure of the star forward result in more of the squad's talent looking to move away from Forest, such as Henri Lansbury and Ben Osborn? New manager Phillipe Montanier cannot allow a player exodus so soon into his tenure at the club, or risk losing favour among the supporters. 

Nottingham Forest's Britt Assombalonga applauds the fans at the final whistleAssombalonga applauds the Forest Faithful

The problem with selling Assombalonga for a fee anywhere near the £7 million mark is that at that price, Forest's hands would be tied in terms of trying to replace the player. There simply isn't a fellow proven Championship goalscorer out there for the same value. So whoever is called upon to replace the Watford academy graduate will be to an extent a gamble by the club, perhaps a player from abroad that could replicate Assombalonga's success, or could be unable to cut it in the physically demanding Championship. 

Montanier should reject any offers this summer for Assombalonga out of hand, entrust the player as the focal point of the Forest attack for the coming season, and allow him to not only bang in the goals, but bring the best out of his team-mates around him. Take new signing Aspostolos Vellios, for example, a striker blessed with an imposing physical presence that could certainly benefit from playing alongside Assombalonga's raw pace and power. A free-scoring striker should take the pressure off Montanier as he familiarises himself with this Forest squad. 

A proven Championship goalscorer can be the difference between a mid-table finish and a promotion charge, and Nottingham Forest are lucky to have one. If the club cash in on their star striker, expect a season of looking over shoulders at the relegation trap door at the City Ground this year. 

Britt Assombalonga celebrates after scoring the fourth goal for Nottingham Forest

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