Nottingham Forest close on long-time target Chris Burke
Nottingham Forest, 11/2 chances with Coral for Championship promotion, are closing in on the signing of free agent Chris Burke, who has reportedly been on the East Midlands outfit’s radar for some time.
Scotland winger Burke, 30, is having a medical with the City Ground side following his release by second-tier rivals Birmingham City. The Reds almost signed him in the January transfer window of 2013 during the brief tenure of former Blues boss Alex McLeish.
Current Forest boss Stuart Pearce has revived the club’s interest in Burke, however, as he looks to strengthen his squad with a bosman buy. Free transfers have been a key part of the recruitment policy by the Trent this summer.
Holding midfielder David Vaughan (Sunderland) and attack-minded left back Danny Fox (Southampton) made permanent switches to the Reds for nothing, following successful loan spells at the back end of last season. Crystal Palace right back Jack Hunt, meanwhile, has joined on loan for at least the rest of 2014.
Forest have also landed another long-time target in former Leicester and Hull City frontman Matty Fryatt on a free. Pearce has paid fees for Dutch target man Lars Veldwijk and ex-Chelsea defender Michael Mancienne, however, but spending is only understood to be in the region of £2m-£3m.
Burke’s arrival at the City Ground will create competition for places in wide areas, with Republic of Ireland forward Simon Cox, fellow Scotland international Jamie Mackie and the highly-rated Jamie Paterson all used on the flanks last term. Algeria winger Djamel Abdoun is free to leave the Reds this summer, who have also released compatriot Rafik Djebbour.
Forest are a temptingly long 20/1 to claim the Championship title this term, and Burke’s addition, which should rubber stamp Andy Reid continuing in the hugely influential playmaker role from last season, could be huge.