Can the new striker fill the vacuum left by Taiwo Awoniyi? Nottingham Forest has been connected to a transfer bid for the player.
Nottingham Forest been dealt a severe blow with the news that its best scorer, Taiwo Awoniyi, will miss three to four months due to a groin issue. This is one of the worst injuries to emerge from an international break that was beset with them. There is a bright side to this situation: in less than two weeks, the January transfer window will begin, providing an opportunity to make amends.
Awoniyi, who has had surgery after exacerbating a pre-existing groin issue while playing for Nigeria internationally, is one of just three Forest players to score more than once in the league this season with four goals. After just twelve games, his team’s performance has been greatly influenced by his goals and mobility in the last third, which has helped them sit eight points above the relegation zone. Steve Cooper needs a replacement, to put it briefly.
It is going to be difficult to locate a player who can immediately take Awoniyi’s place. Although acquiring him without incurring significant costs is difficult, there might be a way to capitalize on his unique movement, finishing, and physicality. While Marvin Ducksch of Werder Bremen might not be a real like-for-like replacement, he brings a lot to the table and might be a perfect match for Cooper’s ambitions, according to a recent report from the German daily Sport Bild, Forest is reportedly considering signing him.
Ducksch, 29, rose to prominence as one of the 2.Bundesliga’s most feared marksmen, scoring at least 15 goals in four consecutive seasons in the German second division. However, until recently, his lone trip to the top flight, with Düsseldorf in 2018–19, has been somewhat of a catastrophe. Since Werder Bremen’s promotion, that has altered.
For his recently promoted team, Ducksch scored twelve goals in the top division last season. He also contributed six assists, and he has already contributed eight goals this season. He is a reliable scorer who poses a threat to the goal and makes a significant contribution to the overall team effort. He just earned his first two caps for the Netherlands under Julian Nagelsmann in exhibition matches against Austria and Turkey.
Awoniyi and Ducksch are not precisely the same type of player. Although he is marginally taller than the Nigerian and by no means slow, he lacks the Nigerian’s power or speed and is unable to outmuscle opponents in the same manner. As an alternative, Ducksch is the type of striker that opens up space by circling the pitch, cutting through traffic, or diving deep and going where defenders aren’t. His heat maps, which feature orange and red splotches throughout the attacking half of the field, resemble paintings by Jackson Pollock.
In addition, he has a good long shot, but when he picks up the ball, he can be quite selfless and usually goes for final passes, both in the middle and out wide. He rarely looks for simple ways to recycle possession or an easy layoff, which leads to a lot of assists and plays that set up shots. He doesn’t always put it on a platter and his passing isn’t always the best, but he never stops searching for killer balls and finds more than enough of them.
When he does hit the back of the net, his statistics are outstanding. Since joining Bremen again in the Bundesliga, he has averaged nearly a goal every other game, has an xG of 0.46 per game this season, and has now exceeded his xG for three straight seasons. In contrast to Awoniyi, he is a skilled finisher who has the poise to take his chances and is rarely guilty of grabbing at shots.
He has actually played some of his finest games while racing off a target man, and Forest have exactly that kind of player in former Burnley striker Chris Wood, so it should really make him a terrific match. Ducksch frequently finds himself in ideal situations to gather knockdowns or provide a target man with a passing option when the ball has been held up because of his movement and willingness to drop a little deeper. It worked really well when he was playing with Nicklas Füllkrug the previous season. Theoretically, he would make the ideal counterpoint to the large New Zealander.
As a result, he seems like a good match and a proven goal scorer. Strikers who consistently score in double figures without breaking the money are a unique species. Ducksch’s transfermarkt valuation is approximately €7.5 million (£6.5 million), however the Sport Bild report made no mention of his cost. He should be extremely affordable, particularly if Divock Origi’s loan from AC Milan is cancelled to reduce the amount of money owed on the salary account. According to recent sources, the Belgian forward may be departing the City Ground soon.
Whether or not the tale has legs will become clear in due course. As Bremen’s most consistent goal threat, they are unlikely to let him go lightly, and Cooper might have other plans for filling in for Awoniyi during his forced layoff. Awoniyi’s contract is set to expire in 2026. However, there are obviously financial difficulties on the German side that they need to address, and acquiring Ducksch seems like a very smart decision for Forest.