Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest

Premier League • England

Nottingham Forest defender confirms transfer link amid Southampton talk

James Garner of Nottingham Forest is congratulated by teammate Joe Worrall after scoring the opening goal of the match during the Sky Bet Championshi

Nottingham Forest centre-back Joe Worrall has confirmed he came close to joining an unnamed Premier League club in the Summer transfer window. 

Reports suggested that Southampton were the top-flight side who were tracking Worrall. The 24-year-old has been a mainstay in the Forest side this season, only missing four games due to injury. A consistent performer at Championship level, he would’ve been a good option for Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl as he looked to boost his defensive options. 

He revealed he was inches away from sealing a deal away from the City Ground. However, his potential new club opted to sign another defender just one day after meeting with the Forest player.

Speaking to BBC Radio Nottingham, he said: “It was very close in the summer with a certain club.

“I had a Zoom meeting with the manager. We discussed monies, accepted monies.

“For me, I’m very glad it didn’t work. They’re doing very well in the Prem, but there’s just something inside me that’s happy I didn’t go.”

It’s the former Rangers player’s dream to play in the Premier League. He was even was told by the unnamed side’s manager what they wanted him to work on before the move collapsed.

The manager literally said to me ‘yeah, we’ll speak monies tomorrow, we’ll get a formal bid lodged and we really want you,” added Worrall.

“The only thing we think you need to work on in your game is scoring more goals and being more defensively tactically aware.

I was really sold and I thought it was fantastic. He said ‘do you want to leave Forest?’ and I said ‘no, but for a Premier League team and to make that step up… I want to play for England and everything so that’s the next rung on the ladder.”

When the move fell through, Worrall was left in the dark and only found out by reading the gossip column.

He said: “The next day, I saw in the paper (the team) had bid for (someone else) and it’s been accepted.

“I’m thinking he’s probably just jumped off the Zoom meeting and gone onto the Zoom meeting with the other guy and sold us both a dream. Then bid for both of us and played us against each other. That’s the feeling I got.

“I had the manager, the director of football, the assistant coach, the set-piece coach all selling me an absolute dream. Telling me I’m the perfect fit for this club, that I’m the right age, I’m the right player, all of this stuff.

“I never heard anything (from the manager) after either. If he rang me and said ‘Look Joe, I’m so sorry, this is why’. Even if I didn’t agree with it, you’ve got to take that on the chin. That’s football.”

Worrall aims for the Prem

Joe Worrall has stated he wants to feature in the Premier League, preferably with Nottingham Forest.

The last time the Reds were in England’s top division was in 1999.

Forest have had a revival since appointing Steve Cooper as their manager. They’ve only lost one Championship game in their last 10.

Whether it’s with his boyhood club or not, Worrall has his focus set on becoming a Premier League player.

“I think it’s something that, if it does happen one day – touch wood it is with Forest – but if it isn’t, it’ll be with a club that will show me a bit more love than the club that turned me down in the summer,” he said.

He continued: “Like I say, I’m not frustrated.

“I’m not at all, because these are things that happen and I’m so happy I’m still at Forest.

“Especially under Cooper now as well because we’re pushing up the table a little bit from where we were at the start of the year.

The Reds sit 13th in the league but are only four points adrift of the play-off places.

READ MORE: Cooper hails positive Forest trend – but reveals anger at unjust decision