Revealed: Why Forest were snubbed by £4m-rated Japanese striker

Date published: Wednesday 13th October 2021 3:55 - James Gordon

Yuma Suzuki, Sint-Truiden striker

The return to form of Lewis Grabban comes at a welcome time for new Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper, who inherited a squad that struggled to recruit forward options in the summer.

Japanese striker Yuma Suzuki snubbed a move to Forest in the summer, saying he preferred to move to a ‘top league’.

The 25-year-old has caught the eye at Belgian side Sint-Truiden, and even turned down Jupiler League big guns Anderlecht.

Anderlecht sporting director, Peter Verbeke, said: “Yuma blocked everything. The club was told that he preferred to move to a top league.”

The £4m-rated forward is likely to attract interest again in the January transfer window, but the Championship appears to be an unlikely destination.


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‘Why would I go abroad’?

Forest were also turned down in the summer by Dinamo Zagreb striker Sandro Kulenovic, who opted to instead go on loan to Lokomotiva.

Kulenovic, 21, spent some time with Italian giants Juventus during his youth career and decided by remaining in Croatia, he would be more likely to impress his parent club.

He told Croatian publication Sportske Novosti: “There were some offers for me, but this choice was the best option. An offer really came from Nottingham Forest. I know that. But I wouldn’t go back to that again.

“Why would I go abroad? Our league is a serious league, a strong European league. Playing here is the right thing to do.

Former Forest boss Chris Hughton had been interested in a £2.5m deal for the former Legia Warsaw frontman.

Spezia striker M’bala Nzola also turned down a move to the City Ground, while Abdou Harroui opted to join Sassuolo after Forest had agreed a £2.5m fee with previous club Sparta Rotterdam.

Physical centre-forward Nzola scored 11 goals in Serie A last season to help save his club from relegation but didn’t want to drop to the second tier.

Ex-Newcastle striker Facundo Ferreyra is another forward target that Forest have missed out on.

Yuma Suzuki


Grabban has scored four in his last six outings, but strike partner
Lyle Taylor hasn’t scored since the opening day of the season.

Chance from within?

Despite the snubs from outside targets, club record signing Joao Carvalho still can’t force his way in to the Forest team.

The attacking midfielder has started just three times this season and is yet to feature under new boss Cooper.

The 24-year-old played in the Champions League for Benfica just four years ago.

He moved to Forest for £13.2m back in June 2018, and had a promising first season but has fallen out of favour since.

With his contract up in the summer of 2023, Forest reporter for Nottinghamshire Live Sarah Clapson says he could be in the last chance saloon.

“His lack of minutes suggest he will have to go some to catch the head coach’s eye in training,” Clapson writes.

“Forest will soon have a decision to make about where he goes from here. He is at the age where he should be playing regularly and having an impact on matches.”

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