Nottingham Forest Opinion: Why offloading Karim Ansarifard is a blunder
According to the Nottingham Post, Nottingham Forest have confirmed the departure of Iranian centre-forward Karim Ansarifard, with the 29-year-old completing a permanent move to Qatari side Al-Sailiya.
Ansarifard is not the only player to depart the City Ground this summer though, with the Nottingham Post claiming that attackers Hillel Soudani and Apostolos Vellios have also completed moves elsewhere.
The report also claims that the likes of Daryl Murphy, Michael Hefele, Liam Bridcutt and Luke Steele have also been told that they are free to look for other clubs, which is a clear indication of a squad overhaul at the City Ground.
New manager Sabri Lamouchi has immediately stamped his authority in the transfer window, with the Frenchman making his intentions very clear that he is not going to hang around with the fringe players in the squad.
And Ansarifard was certainly among the players who only played a bit-part role under Martin O’Neill last season.
The 29-year-old, who arrived at the City Ground on a free transfer following the termination of his contract at Olympiacos, came in with a huge reputation of scoring goals, having won the Greek Super League with his former club in the 2016-17 season.
However, he was barely given a fair crack of the whip by O’Neill and the Iranian was never really close to being a starter for Forest.
However, it has to be said that Ansarifard hardly did anything wrong during the course of his short stay at the City Ground and as a matter of fact, he did tease the fans with glimpses of his brilliance when he was given an opportunity to spearhead the attack.
That wasn’t a regular occurrence though, as the 29-year-old made only 12 appearances in the Championship, with 9 of those coming as cameos from the bench.
The highlights of his brief Forest career included a goal and an assist in the 3-1 home victory over Hull City in March and the winner in a 1-0 victory over QPR in the final game of the season.
Well, it is hard to expect players to come into a new club, especially in a league as physically gruelling as the Championship, and start delivering the goods immediately.
Ansarifard came in with an excellent track record at Olympiacos, having scored 22 goals in 48 appearances for the Greek heavyweights but it has to be said that Forest failed to utilise him in the best possible way.
Given that the Iranian arrived at Nottingham Forest in November last year due to work-permit issues, the timing of the Iranian’s arrival at the City Ground didn’t particularly favour the move because Aitor Karanka left in January and Ansarifard was always going to find things difficult under an orthodox old-school manager like O’Neill.
Furthermore, he was called up by Iran for the AFC Asian Cup in January, which coincided with the managerial change, and his absence pushed him down the pecking order at the club.
The 29-year-old propelled Iran to the final but he found things extremely difficult upon his return to the City Ground. It would be fair to say that O’Neill never really dealt with him well and things could have been different for the Iranian had he stayed on for another season.
A big strong centre-forward standing at 6ft 2in, Ansarifard is not only a clinical finisher but he is also capable of bringing others into play by operating as the focal point of the attack.
Perhaps, the Iranian could have been a better fit for Lamouchi’s attacking philosophy and it is a shame that Forest chose to offload him without giving him a fair crack of the whip.
Now, the news of Ansarifard’s departure, which also coincides with the departure of Soudani and Vellios, means that the two-time European Cup winners do not have enough depth in their attacking options heading into the upcoming season.
The likes of Joe Lolley and Lewis Grabban are expected to be a part of their promotion-push next term, however, one cannot help but wonder that they are going to miss the big Iranian’s presence on the bench.
To Read More Nottingham Forest News, Click Here:- Latest Nottingham Forest News
Forest have completed yet another triple raid on the Portuguese market for the Alfa Semedo, Yuri Ribeiro and Tiago Silva, although neither of them is a striker. It is fair enough that they have decided to move Ansarifard on but Forest have to sign a replacement, nevertheless.