Ben Osborn has been a loyal servant to Nottingham Forest since stepping out of the club’s academy system.

He made his debut back in March 2014, and penned a five-year contract shortly after his bow.

More fresh terms have been agreed since then.

But his current deal is due to expire next summer.

Osborn is now tied to Forest for less than 12 months.

So, what should the Reds do?

With a reported £3 million offer on the table for the 24-year-old?

The Sun claims that Premier League new boys Sheffield United have made a move for the industrious midfielder.

His versatility holds obvious appeal to Chris Wilder.

As it should Sabri Lamouchi.

The problem is, where does he fit into the bigger picture at the City Ground?

Risks

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Entering the final year of a contract with a Championship club is nothing new.

It should not be taken as indication that Osborn is surplus to requirements.

There are, however, obvious risks involved when allowing a player to get into this position.

Forest must now stick or twist.

If they feel that Osborn is worth retaining, then extension talks need to be prioritised.

Bringing the exit talk to a close.

If Lamouchi and Co are unsure of where he fits into future plans, then a sale should be sanctioned.

Osborn’s market value is only going to head in one direction from this point.

Regardless of what he may or may not offer in competitive action.

The summer window closes on August 8.

Once it shuts, no more business can be done until January.

If Osborn stays and doesn’t commit to a new deal, then he will have just six months left by the time the market re-opens.

There is no way Forest will get £3m at that point.

It is suggested in The Sun that they are looking for around double that figure from Sheffield United.

That seems a little ambitious.

If they play hardball, though, and see the Blades raise the stakes, then selling may be the best option.

Divisive

 

That is no slight on Osborn, who has proved to be a divisive figure among Forest fans of late.

Nobody will forget his last-gasp winner at Derby or willingness to do a job for the good of the collective cause in whatever position is asked of him.

He has taken in 230 appearances for the club, with 212 of those coming in the league.

Only Chris Cohen (231) has taken in more second tier outings for the Reds.

In only one of his five full seasons as a senior star has Osborn seen fewer than 40 games across all competitions – and even then, in 2015-16, he figured in 38.

A succession of managers have found a role for him.

Will Lamouchi’s name be added to that list?

Recent transfer dealings suggest not, with the midfield and left-back ranks reinforced.

Forest have a saleable asset that is attracting interest while having no obvious role at the City Ground.

The time has come for something new.

Be that a new contract or a new challenge away from Trentside.