Nottingham Forest Opinion: Bjorn Johnsen could be a terrific signing for Forest
According to Nottinghamshire Live, Nottingham Forest have been credited with an interest in Norwegian striker Bjorn Johnsen. New manager Sabri Lamouchi is keen to add more depth and quality to his attacking options.
Nottinghamshire Live understands that Championship newcomers Barnsley are also monitoring the 27-year-old centre-forward, who has been a revelation in the Eredivisie over the past couple of seasons.
Johnsen, who currently plies his trade with AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch Eredivisie, scored 6 goals in just 7 league starts this past season, with the Norwegian international spending quite a lot of time on the sidelines due to injury issues.
Born in New York City to a Norwegian father and an American mother, Johnsen migrated to Norway in his youth and rose through the youth ranks of Valerenga before making his professional debut with Tonsberg in the third-tier.
The centre-forward subsequently had spells in Spain with lower division clubs Antequera and Atletico Baleares and in Portugal with Louletano and Atletico CP before making his move to the Bulgarian top-tier with Litex Lovech.
After two seasons of moderate success at Litex, Johnsen spent the 2016-17 season at Hearts in the Scottish Premiership, although his spell in Scotland proved to be an ill-fated one.
The 27-year-old scored only 6 goals in 34 league outings for Hearts before moving across the continent to join Dutch Eredivisie side ADO Den Haag in 2017. And lady luck finally seemed to have smiled on him when he plundered a career-best tally of 19 goals in his very first season in The Netherlands.
Johnsen’s heroics in his debut season in the Eredivisie earned him a move to AZ Alkmaar last summer and while he didn’t have the best of times due to injuries and stiff competition for places, the 27-year-old still managed to find the net on 6 occasions in just 7 starts.
The centre-forward has also emerged as a regular pick for Norway at the senior international level in recent times and his scoring record of 5 goals in 13 games looks impressive, indeed.
Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest have already flexed their muscles this summer to bring in the likes of Yuri Ribeiro, Alfa Semedo and Tiago Silva in a bid to add more depth to their midfield options.
Sammy Ameobi and Albert Adomah have also arrived at the City Ground on free transfers to bolster the attacking ranks. However, one can get the feeling that new manager Sabri Lamouchi should look to add at least another natural finisher to his ranks.
To put things into perspective, Bjorn Johnsen certainly looks like a good choice for Forest, given that he has already proven his goalscoring prowess in the Dutch top-flight.
Standing at 6ft 5in with a gigantic and sinewy frame, the 27-year-old is not just a natural finisher with both feet but he is more than capable of operating as the focal point of the attack, whilst also providing a genuine threat in the air from set-pieces and crosses.
The Norwegian has also showcased the awareness to drop back and help out his defenders, which is definitely an indispensable attribute for any attacker to have in the English game.
Plus, the 27-year-old excels with his ability to hold up the ball in tight areas, often bringing others into play and creating chances using deft flick-ons and clever passes in the final third.
The likes of Joe Lolley and Lewis Grabban, who were amongst the mainstays of the attack under Martin O’Neill last season, are expected to continue in that role but Bjorn Johnsen could add that extra bit of physicality and power to their forward line.
Forest scored only 61 goals in the Championship the last term and it is a no-brainer that they would probably need to rack up a better tally to challenge for promotion next term, meaning that attacking reinforcements should be a priority for the club.
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That said, they should not hesitate to complete a deal for the towering Norwegian centre-forward in the weeks to come.