With a little bit more consistency in his game, there is no reason why Erhun Oztumer cannot outgrow the League One pond. The Walsall midfielder has been one of the finest players in the third tier over the last few years but, despite HITC sources telling us that Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United were interested this summer, he is set for another season with The Saddlers.
Our sources told us that Forest saw the so-called ‘Turkish Messi’ as a player who could add guile and goals to their side and the statistics would not argue otherwise.
Oztumer scored 15 goals in all competitions last season and already has four to his name this. And the fact that the diminutive playmaker has developed a penchant for the spectacular has only earned him more admirers.
"Erhun scored a great goal against Peterborough (in Saturday’s 1-1 draw) but we know he is capable of that," Walsall manager Jon Whitney told the Express and Star. "He can now score all types of goals.”
Big fish in a small pond?
An attacking midfielder by trade, Oztumer has been fielded in a more natural forward position this season and is repaying Whitney’s tactical risk with a series of influential performances. In total, he has now scored 13 goals in his last 25 outings at the Banks’ Stadium.
Therefore, if Forest needed any more encouragement to keep tabs on the talented fans’ favourite, his increasingly excellent displays in the early stages of 2017/18 suggest that Mark Warburton’s side could do worse than revisit their interest in January.
Forest have far more concerns over their leaky defence than an attack that ranks as one of the most potent in the second tier but Oztumer’s quality mean he should not be left in League One for much longer.
He deserves a chance at a higher level and where better than under a manager like Warburton who can coax the best from this supremely gifted footballer.