Nottingham Forest are reportedly interested in swapping Ben Osborn for Stoke City winger James McClean, according to the Daily Mirror.
McClean was a regular in the Republic of Ireland side when Forest boss Martin O’Neill was in charge.
However, it is somewhat surprising that he would be willing to let Osborn move the other way. Osborn is currently one of the longest-serving players at the City Ground having made his debut in the 2013/14 campaign.
If Osborn does move the other way, it would mean that the Reds would avoid paying a hefty fee for his signature. At the same time, O’Neill would lose a valued member of his first team squad in Osborn.
It remains to be seen how this deal develops, but it is certainly one to keep an eye on.
Is McClean a good enough upgrade?
It’s difficult to directly compare the two players. This is mainly due to the fact Osborn has never pinned down a single position as his own. However, this isn’t a criticism. He has been trusted by previous managers to play in numerous positions, outlining his versatility.
In more recent times, O’Neill has utilised Osborn as a left-back. This has been because Jack Robinson has had to fill the gap in central defence due to the current injury crisis. There’s no doubt that this isn’t Osborn’s best position, but he has always done a job.
A number of players would moan about being played out of position, but Osborn hasn’t done this once since breaking into the team. He has remained professional throughout and got on with whatever his manager has asked of him.
Is it worth offloading this sort of player in exchange for McClean? It’s up for debate.
McClean is arguably better than O’Neill’s current wide options. However, he certainly isn’t the most popular of players. If he isn’t going to be accepted by a number of supporters – is it really worth the hassle?
He has proven that he has the ability to deliver at this level, but at 29-years-old, his best years are probably behind him. If he could come in and help push the Reds towards the play-off places, then it would undoubtedly be a deal worth pursuing.
However, that is a very big if.
Following the Daily Mirror’s report, Seat Pitch rounded up exactly what Forest supporters had to say about the potential swap deal.
‘The worst deal ever’
People can dislike Osborn all they want but my guy puts a shift in every single week. He can cover multiple positions and he has the best years of his career ahead of him.
All McClean would bring the club is bad publicity in November and a bigger dent in the wage bill. #nffc
— DizzyBala (@DizzyBala) January 29, 2019
Swapping Osborn for McClean would be pure lunacy #nffc
— NFFC (@NottinghamRed99) January 29, 2019
McLean for Benny benchwarmer Osborn is a steal. No question about it. #nffc
— Harvey (@HarveyLawrence8) January 29, 2019
I think the swap for McLean and Osborn isn’t a bad deal. Put McLean politics to one side, he is a decent championship player. Plus if we get Erik Pieters will be good cover at LB. I can’t see Mings coming now villa are in talks. But Blackett will do a job for us. #NFFC
— Scott Markham (@markham_scott) January 29, 2019
Danny Fox and Ben Osborn have been the mainstay of terrible Forest teams over the last few years, why are fans that bothered about them going ? Theyre clearly not good enough. #NFFC
— Taz (@taztheuke) January 29, 2019
Don’t get rid of Osborn for McLean.
NO, NO, NO, NO, NO#NFFC
— Andrew (@Nesto25) January 29, 2019
Osborn for McLean would seem very short sighted and not great value, not sure McLean is even that good really. #nffc
— Jon (@JonSumjons) January 29, 2019
Swaping Osborn for McClean… That some kind of joke? That be worse deal ever. #NFFC
— 😄 (@NFFCRED) January 29, 2019