There may be no Nottingham Forest players jetting off to this summer’s World Cup in Russia but that does not mean there is no reason to tune in.
A future for Fig
Tobias Figueiredo has played 66 games for Portugal between U15 and U23 level but is yet to earn a cap for Fernando Santos’ senior side. But with Portugal’s top three centre-backs, Pepe, Jose Fonte and Bruno Alves, all well into their 30s, its about time the current European champions started planning for the future.
Figueiredo may be playing in England’s second tier right now after swapping Sporting Lisbon for Nottingham Forest but that doesn’t mean he’s consigned to the international wilderness. Just ask Nelson Oliveira and Lucas Joao.
Nottingham Forest be back in square one before they know it. Costel Pantilimon is wanted by Aston Villa after his loan spell from Watford came to an end while Stefanos Kapino could return to Greece with Atromitos, meaning Forest could once again be forced to search for a new number one.
Fortunately, the World Cup provides countless eligible and affordable options such as Mexico’s lion-maned Guillermo Ochoa to Sweden’s Robin Olson. Maybe Frederik Ronnow, the Danish back-up, will be on Forest’s radar again should something happen to Kasper Schmeichel.
Money and Mendes
Wolves aren’t the only English second tier side looking to Portugal for exciting young talent. As reported by The Mail, Forest are set to sign Benfica midfielder Joao Carvalho in a club-record £13 million deal with the 21-year-old creator Diogo Goncalves expected to arrive on loan.
But could any of Portugal’s current squad join their Iberian compatriots in the east Midlands? Maybe the 37-year-old centre-back Bruno Alves who, like Goncalves and Carvalho, is represented by super-agent Jorge Mendes.
Alves has a year left on his contract at Rangers but, alongside Michael Dawson, he would provide experience and a winning mentality.
Dejagah to the heart
Can Ashkan Dejagah show Forest what they were missing? The former Fulham and Wolfsburg winger arrived at the City Ground on a short term contract in January but played just 14 minutes of football, got injured, and was released at the end of the season.
After finding himself without a club once again, the 31-year-old will be hoping to remind everyone of his talent on the world stage as Iran aim to cause a giant shock against Spain and Portugal in the group stage.
If Dejagah proves his fitness and form, who’s to say he couldn’t return to Forest?
Yes, Stojkovic is going
Vladimir Stojkovic looked like an accident waiting to happen throughout his one and only season as a Forest player. The 34-year-old, headbanded ‘shot-stopper’ let in 35 goals in just 20 Championship appearances for the club and was promptly replaced by the rookie Jordan Smith as soon as Mark Warburton took over in the spring of 2017.
Imagine the fans’ surprise, then, when Stojkovic lines up for Serbia at the World Cup this summer. The current Partizan Belgrade ‘keeper is a veteran of 80 caps – though Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino will be licking their lips as Brazil face Serbia on June 27.
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