Ola Aina must keep himself in shop window while playing for his future

Ola Aina pix


When moving to snap up Ola Aina as a free agent in 2023, Nottingham Forest were only prepared to put a one-year contract on the table.

A calculated risk was being taken by all parties, with the versatile Nigerian being released as a free agent by Serie A side Torino.

Aina undoubtedly had questions to answer, particularly in England where he had previously spent time on the books of Chelsea and Fulham.

If a prolonged spell in the Premier League was to be secured, then it was going to have to be earned.

There is nothing wrong with that, and Aina has set about that challenge with gusto.

He impressed for Forest over the first half of the 2023-24 campaign, earning a place in Nigeria’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.

He helped them to a final showdown at that event, only to see fitness issues hold him back at the worst possible time.

International glory may have proved elusive, but domestic success is still there to be chased down.

Anyone fancying Forest to steer another course to Premier League safety can take advantage of tools that find the best betting sites in Nigeria and cover a wide range of markets – including prices to avoid relegation alongside the more standard match outcome and first goalscorer odds.

If Aina can stay fit, then he has an important role to play at the City Ground.

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He said upon his arrival: “I feel like I want to be back on English soil again and Forest is a club which has an exciting project and exciting team.”

In order to form part of that project and avoid gifting his place in Nuno Espirito Santo’s plans to a positional rival, he needs to be available for selection.

That has proved problematic on the back of Afcon pain, with Forest boss Nuno saying: “It’s something that we’re concerned about it’s happening too much and it’s creating a lot of problems in terms of options for us. We are all asking why, this is our main question, why is it happening to us.”

Aina cannot escape the fact that he is only tied to a short-term deal.

If he is not out on the field, then convincing Forest – or any other suitor – of his worth will be difficult.

His stock began to soar when impressing for the Super Eagles in continental action, but it does not take long to slip out of both mind and sight.


Aina has been presented with a shop window in which to showcase his talent.

Forest would likely look at removing him from that shelf if their status among the Premier League elite can be secured, with obvious value to be found in an extended deal.

The future cannot, however, be predicted with any kind of certainty.

Aina must be aware of that and while there is little that can be done about untimely setbacks on the fitness front, he still has plenty to prove if a tumble into another free agency bargain bin is to be avoided.

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