June 13, 2024

Lewis O’Brien transfer latest: Nottingham Forest future, what’s been said, DC United stance

Latest Nottingham Forest transfer news as Reds face key summer window decision over midfielder



Lewis O'Brien breaks silence after Nottingham Forest transfer confirmed -  Nottinghamshire Live



It is an important summer for Nottingham Forest as they aim to put together a squad capable of pushing on in the Premier League.

Although it has been a quiet start to the window, transfer activity is expected to ramp up in the coming weeks as the players return for pre-season. Incomings and outgoings are on the cards, with some big calls to be made over some players.

One of those whose future is in the spotlight is midfielder Lewis O’Brien. His loan with MLS outfit DC United is due to run out on July 16, with a decision needing to be made over what happens next.

Will he have a part to play at the City Ground? Will he stay across the Atlantic or head elsewhere? We take a look at the story so far and what has been said.

The past year

O’Brien signed for the Reds from Huddersfield Town last July as part of a double-deal with Harry Toffolo. He made a positive early impression Trentside but then illness seemed to set him back and he eventually dropped down the pecking order.



Lewis O'Brien addresses Nottingham Forest future after DC United transfer  clause emerges - Nottinghamshire Live



In January, he was set to join Blackburn Rovers on loan on deadline day, only for the deal to collapse. The Championship side failed in a bid to overturn the English Football League’s decision not to approve the move due to an issue over the timing of the paperwork being filed.

Left out of Forest’s 25-man Premier League squad, he was faced with the prospect of no competitive football for a few months. However, he had a number of possible options in America, with DC United winning the race for his signature.

Since linking up with Wayne Rooney’s side – who have an option to buy clause in the deal – he has generally done well. Regular game time has been welcome, with O’Brien making 13 league appearances and scoring one goal so far.

DC United’s verdict



Lewis O'Brien on D.C. United move: 'I'm happy playing again'



Boss Rooney is keen for O’Brien to stay on. The MLS season runs until October, and it seems he doesn’t want to lose the midfielder midway through.

“We’re still in conversations. It’s a difficult situation because it’s not in our hands. We’re trying everything we can to try to keep him,” he said this week, as reported by Washington Post reporter Steven Goff.

What O’Brien has said

“No one would turn down the opportunity to play in the Premier League and I don’t regret signing for Forest,” the 24-year-old said in March. “The first six or seven games, I was starting and, in my opinion, playing pretty well in a team that was gaining a foothold in the league. I felt like I held my own and, against West Ham, I got Player of the Match, live on Sky, and we won 1-0.

“Manchester City were definitely the hardest opponents, we couldn’t even get near them and it was like playing a different game completely. That made me realise the standard I needed to aspire to.”

He added: “I’m not going to hold a grudge about what happened in January. I want to go back and prove to Forest and myself what I’m capable of – I feel very strongly about that – because my best is definitely yet to come.

“I believe I can come out of what has been a crazy situation as a better person with some fantastic life experience behind me.”

What Steve Cooper has said


Steve Cooper's year at Nottingham Forest from promotion high to Premier  League pressure - Mirror Online



After O’Brien’s move to Ewood Park had fallen through, Cooper hit out at Blackburn for “letting down” the midfielder. Prior to the MLS loan being agreed, the Reds boss had said: “We made the decision for him to go and play, for a Nottingham Forest player to become a better player, because we felt that was the right thing for him and us. We have ended up in a poor situation for him, first and foremost, because the whole reason he wanted to go was because he wanted to play football. I commend him for that and didn’t stand in his way.

“If anything, he hasn’t just been denied where he decided to go, but he’s been denied to play for us as well. With what has gone on with injuries since that decision, there is nothing good about it. It is complete mismanagement of a situation.”

What next?

MLS rules require option-to-buy clauses to be included in every loan deal, so there is nothing unusual in O’Brien’s case. It doesn’t necessarily mean he has no future at Forest.

DC United clearly want to extend his stay, but there is also interest from elsewhere. Sheffield United have been linked and he has admirers in the Championship.

Midfield is an area the Reds need to address this summer. They have already lost Jack Colback, who has been released at the end of his contract, and Jonjo Shelvey is among a group likely to move on during the window.

Forest will look to strengthen in that department, but they need to make sure they have sufficient options in place. O’Brien would likely find himself on the bench, at least initially, as Ryan Yates, Danilo and Orel Mangala proved an effective combination towards the end of the campaign. So, whether the player is happy to try to force his way into contention Trentside will also be a factor in any decision.

Should O’Brien get another chance with Forest? Have your say in the comments below

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