High-flying Newcastle United have been enjoying a great season in the EFL Championship. The Magpies are currently occupying the second place in the standings and Rafael Benitez’s men look all set for a return to the Premier League.
And as they go about chasing their qualification to the English top division, the Toons are looking to bring in reinforcements in the January transfer window. One player who is making the noises in the press regarding a move to the St. James’ Park is Nottingham Forest midfielder Ben Osborn.
Derby-born Osborn joined the Nottingham youth academy as a 9-year old and came through the various age groups at the academy frequently playing as a left-back, despite being a midfielder. The 22-year old, who is comfortable through the middle or on the wings, captained the Forest U-21 side before breaking into the first team.
His first appearance for the senior team came at the tail-end of the 2013/14 against Ipswich Town, following which he featured six more times that season. His development and breakthrough into the first team saw him sign a new five-year extension with the club. And ever since, Osborn has become a key player for the Midland clubs. On the international level, Osborn has represented the England Under-18s, Under-19s and the Under-20s squads, totalling five appearances for the Three Lions till date.
The 22-year old has been a prominent part of the Nottingham Forest squad this term, despite their struggles in the Championship, that sees them in the 20th place in the table. The versatile midfielder has started 24 of the 25 league games and made a substitute appearance in the other game, scoring one goal and assisting a further five strikes.
Extremely versatile, Osborn primarily is a central midfielder but has featured mostly on the left side of the midfield. He can also operate in a more advanced role through the centre and on either flank. He does not possess express pace, but more than makes up for it with his willingness to run and his work rate. Osborn is an intelligent operator and can pick a pass with good accuracy.
However, the goals from midfield is something that he lacks in his game and need improvement in that area. Aggressive by nature, his temper is known to boil out at times. Standing at 5ft 8in, Osborn isn’t the tallest of the players, but doesn’t back down from an aerial challenge and can also shield the ball from opponents and indulge in hold-up play.
Osborn has won many admirers in his short time with the Reds first team, with Premier League clubs Swansea City and Watford having reportedly monitored the 22-year old in November, according to the reports. And now Rafa Benitez is contemplating a £4 million move for the midfielder who recently signed a new contract in August, that will keep him with Forest till 2020.
Osborn has shown great potential and has developed into a vital player for Nottingham and while they would want to hold onto him, it would prove to be a little difficult if Newcastle comes calling. It would prove to be a shrewd investment for the Toons as well, given Osborn’s age and his qualities.