Southampton midfielder Will Small has been given the “green light” to depart on loan amid interest from Nottingham Forest.
The 22-year-old is looking for somewhere that he could receive plenty of game time having recently returned from a ruptured ACL that he suffered in 2020. He made just four appearances in the Premier League under Ralph Hasenhuttl last term.
Steve Cooper currently has Jack Colback, Braian Ojeda, Cafu and Harry Arter available to him in central midfield, but the latter is likely to depart ahead of his contract expiring next summer.
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The Reds have enjoyed James Garner in the centre of the pitch this season, but he is set to return to parent club Manchester United where he will be given the opportunity to stake a claim for the first team after impressing while on-loan at the City Ground.
According to The Sun, Hasenhuttl has told Smallbone – a Republic of Ireland Under-21 international – that the Saints would be happy to let the 22-year-old spent a year away before returning to fight for a spot in the starting eleven.
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Forest have been linked with a move for Smallbone following their promotion to the Premier League, but his injury record and lack of top-flight experience could make it an unlikely transfer option.
The Sun claims talks have been held “with a number of clubs in both the Premier League and Championship, though a move abroad has not been ruled out. Clubs in Germany and Belgium are being considered.”