Nottingham Forest defender Yohan Benalouane is attracting interest from Premier League sides, according to FootMercato

The Reds only signed the 31-year-old centre-back in January on an 18-month contract from Leicester City for an undisclosed fee. He became Martin O’Neill’s first signing as manager of the club.

However, according to FootMercato, Cardiff City and West Ham United are interested in the defender, as well as Championship promotion hopefuls Leeds United.

There’s no doubt that the defender has exceeded expectations at the City Ground since his arrival. He has made 10 appearances for the Reds so far in the Championship.

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He has formed a good understanding with fellow January signing Alex Milošević. The defensive pair have produced a number of solid performances over the last few months. They are a key reason why the Reds remain in play-off contention.

In this case, Benalouane was able to install himself as a fans’ favourite by scoring the winning goal against Derby County a few weeks ago. It has certainly not taken him long to settle into life at the club.

 

Should the Reds fend off interest?

O’Neill is clearly a huge fan of the centre-back and will not want to lose him after such a short period of time. The Reds may be tempted to offer him a new contract to fend off interest from the likes of Cardiff and Leeds.

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Speaking on the centre-back’s performance in the win against Derby, O’Neill told the Nottingham Post: “He was just terrific. I think that was his best performance and it came in a big derby game, in front of a full house.

“Against Derby, I would not say he obeyed absolutely everything on that front, but he was much better, in terms of thinking about things. He was great.”

With just eight games remaining this season, O’Neill will have one eye on his plans for the summer. The Reds certainly aren’t short of options in the centre-back department.

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The Reds currently have Michael Hefele, Michael Dawson and Tobias Figueiredo all out injured, whilst Joe Worrall is on loan at Rangers. O’Neill also added Molla Wagué to the squad in January.

It’s certainly a position O’Neill can look to condense in the summer transfer window. But it would be a surprise to see Benalouane allowed to leave after the impact he has made since his arrival.