Nottingham Forest holding onto their 27-year-old star amidst Wigan interest is crucial and here’s why

Nottingham Forest Opinion: Losing Tendayi Darikwa could spell disaster

According to Nottingham Post, Nottingham Forest are bracing themselves for an approach from Wigan Athletic for right-back Tendayi Darikwa, with the report claiming that Latics manager Paul Cook has set his sights on the 27-year-old ahead of the upcoming season.

Nottingham Post understands that Wigan Athletic are desperate to find a replacement for Chelsea loanee Recce James, who departed the DW Stadium at the end of his loan deal.

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James was instrumental in keeping the Latics in the Championship with his stellar run of form, and Paul Cook is seemingly on the lookout for a new right-back.

Darikwa is, indeed, Cook’s No.1 target for the right-back role next season, although the Latics have also lined up a deal for Alan Hutton, who is currently a free agent following his release from Aston Villa. (h/t Nottingham Post)

Darikwa, who was a part of the Zimbabwe side that participated at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt this summer, has a contract at the City Ground until the summer of 2021, meaning that the two-time European Cup winners are not under any pressure to cash in on him.

The 27-year-old was a key player for Forest in the Championship this past season, as the Zimbabwean found himself ahead of Saidy Janko and West Ham loanee Sam Byram in the pecking order under Martin O’Neill.

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Darikwa registered a total of 28 appearances for the club in the league last season and it looks likely that he would be the undisputed first-choice under Lamouchi next term.

Born in Nottingham to parents of Zimbabwean descent, Darikwa started his career with Chesterfield and excelled over the course of his five seasons in the third and fourth tiers of English football before earning a move to the Championship with Burnley in the summer of 2015. 

The right-back played a key role in his debut season at Turf Moor to propel the Clarets to the Premier League but he never made a single appearance in the top-flight in the following campaign and subsequently signed for Nottingham Forest in 2017. Darikwa has accumulated a total of 63 appearances in all competitions for Forest over the past two seasons.

Darikwa, though not a world-beater by any means, is a very competent right-back at the Championship level due to his lightning pace, quick acceleration, stamina, tough-tackling nature and work ethics.

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He has been one of the mainstays of the Forest backline in recent times and letting him depart ahead of the upcoming season would not be the most sensible decision from the City Ground faithful given that they already have plenty of issues to sort out as far as depth and quality in the other areas is concerned.

Forest have Saidy Janko as a useful back-up for that right-back role and Darikwa’s potential departure would leave Lamouchi with only a single senior option at right-back for the next season.

Hence, it is easy to see why Nottingham Forest should turn down Wigan’s approach for the Zimbabwean international, simply because he has a lot to offer at the City Ground next season. 

For the player, a move to the DW Stadium would make little sense given that Wigan finished in the lower reaches of the Championship last season and barely managed to beat the drop, while Forest were always in contention for a playoff spot.

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The Latics aren’t really in the promotion mix at the moment and staying put at the City Ground should be in the best interests of Darikwa’s career.  

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Conclusion

Keeping that in mind, Forest are currently going through a rebuilding phase under Lamouchi and losing a reliable player at the back could hamper their plans heading into the upcoming campaign. That said, they should keep hold of Tendayi Darikwa at all costs. 

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Written by Sayan

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game... keen eye for tactical battles and love to discuss the financial aspects of football...other hobbies include reading, listening to music, playing FIFA on PlayStation, travelling etc.

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