Joe Worrall transfer state of play as Coventry City linked with Nottingham Forest man

If the latest Coventry City transfer speculation is to be believed, the Sky Blues have been given permission to speak to Nottingham Forest centre-back Joe Worrall.

That’s according to The Sun’s transfer specialist Alan Nixon who claims City, along with fellow Championship rivals Sheffield United, have been granted permission to talk to the 27-year-old centre-back, whom the Reds are keen to sell. However, the report says, Coventry are looking for a loan rather than a permanent deal, which may well prove a sticking point for Forest who would prefer to cash in on the £4m rated defender who is contracted at the City Ground until 2026.

Mark Robins has already added Luis Binks to his rearguard, re-signing the 22-year-old left sided centre-half on a permanent deal following an encouraging season-long loan from Bologna. That means he continues to have four central defenders for the forthcoming campaign, two right-sided players in Bobby Thomas and Joel Latibeaudiere and two for the left in Liam Kitching and Binks.

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He started last season with five centre-backs, with Kyle McFadzean deployed at the heart of a back three until midway through the campaign when City switched to a back four and the veteran defender moved to Blackburn Rovers. Since then Robins has made the point that he could do with replacing the character and experience provided by McFadzean, but it’s unclear whether he would want five centre-halves competing for two available spots, assuming he sticks with a back four system.

He may, of course, want the flexibility to utilise both formations, depending on the opposition and circumstances.

Here we speak to Matt Davies of the Forest podcast, Forest Focus, who has followed, reported and commented on the club for several years, to get his view on Worrall’s situation, availability and likelihood of moving to Coventry.

“I would say his Forest career is most likely coming to an end," he said. “He was captain when Forest got promoted, when he was such a key cog in the team. He was good in the Premier League in fits and starts when he had some very good individual games but lacked consistency in his form, and that was probably the biggest barrier to him retaining a regular place when the club signed players around him.

“But that’s not to say he’s not a good player. Far from it. He went away on loan to Besiktas in January and he’s back now and I am sure Forest are keen to off-load him, mainly because of his squad status but also because of PSR (Profit and Sustainability Regulations). They need to sell players and as an Academy graduate Joe would be 100 percent profit on the books.”

He added: “If Coventry want a loan deal I don’t think Forest would be keen on that. I think they’d only been keen on a cash deal initially, so that might be the biggest barrier. But I think he will move this summer and he’d be the kind of top end Championship/lower end of the Premier League player that I imagine would be the type of player Coventry would want.”

As for his best position and whether he’d be a good fit for the Sky Blues, Davies said: “He’s right footed and has a good range of passing. When Forest got promoted and in the first season until Felipe came in, he was the best on the ball. He would play on the right side of a three or the middle of a three.

“His big weakness is that he’s not the quickest, so that lack of pace probably stops him being a top defender, but he’s a good leader, a good captain and although I haven’t seen that much of McFadzean, I would imagine he’d be that type of replacement in terms of character and player profile; does all the nasty stuff in the Championship. His strengths are leadership, organisation, passing and he’s a decent reader of the game.

“He’s also very confident and when he first came into the Forest dressing room he spoke his mind and has been a real dressing room leader. “

What Joe Worrall has said

Speaking after signing his contract extension last year, he told talkSPORT: “I signed a new contract extension but obviously my game time was limited with the new manager coming in and the direction that the club wanted to go in.

“I played two games under Nuno but we’re well stocked at Forest, there’s a lot of talent and a lot of good players at Forest. For me, it’s all about getting match fit and me sitting there is doing nobody any favours so it’s all about playing games and then we’ll see.”

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