After missing out on John McGinn, Nottingham Forest are wary of letting transfer target Lawrence Shankland slip through their fingers.
Forest have been linked with a January move for Dundee United hitman Shankland after having him watched in Friday’s 2-0 derby win over Dundee, in which he scored.
The 24-year-old Scotland cap, who has 20 goals in 20 games for club and country this season, has been on Forest’s radar since the summer, when then-manager Martin O’Neill was planning a move for the hitman.
Shankland opted to join Dundee United but he has remained on the English Championship club’s shortlist as they aim to make a long-awaited return to the Premier League down south.
And, having lost out on fellow-Scotland international McGinn to Aston Villa in 2018, Nottingham Post sports writer Barry Cooper thinks Forest will be wary of missing the boat on Scottish talent once again.
“They were burned by McGinn last summer and not getting that over the line,” he said. “Forest were disappointed not to get him from Hibs, and look at him now.
“They are aware the Scottish market can be good value for money, even if Jason Cummings didn’t work out for them.”
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Cooper also believes money is of no concern to Forest in brokering a deal for Shankland as they look to get another striker in to support Lewis Grabban up top.
He does, however, think boss Sabri Lamouchi would be more interested in an experienced player in England but didn’t rule out a more affordable move for Shankland being pursued when the January transfer window opens. Shankland is expected to command a seven-figure fee.
He added: “There was interest in him from the previous manager, they were certainly looking at him.
“Whether that transcends into something more concrete in January remains to be seen as it’s not the type of move they’d typically go for. They are trying to get promotion and have Lewis Grabban up top but I wouldn’t rule it out. They have, obviously, watched him and he is certainly a player they are well aware of.
“It’s a tricky one in January because they should be in and around the top six.
“They, obviously, have designs on going up.
“Dwight Gayle is one that’s been spoken about but he would cost considerably more, even a loan would cost a lot and it’s not clear if he’d want to sit on the bench behind Grabban.
“He’d maybe set them back upwards of £10 million and £60,000 a week in wages coming in from Newcastle. Shankland would be a more-affordable option, certainly.
“The club owners are Greeks Evangelos Marinakis and Sokratis Kominakis. The former also owns Olympiakos.
“They have invested a lot of money and stumped up a club record transfer fee (£13.2m) for Joao Carvalho last summer. They also have massive plans to develop the stadium starting in early 2020. There would be no concern over breaking Financial Fair Play rules. There is money in the bank to go and spend.
“They sold a couple of players in the summer, Arvin Appiah for £8m being one, and feel they want to add some more.”
For Shankland’s part, he insists his full focus is on Dundee United and Scotland’s upcoming qualifiers and has not heard anything of a Forest’s reported interest.
He said: “I don’t take any interest in the speculation to be honest. I never actually knew about that report until someone told me about it.”