Nottingham Forest set to launch £2m bid for Northern Ireland winger Gavin Whyte
Northern Ireland winger Gavin Whyte could be on the way to a big money move to Championship side Nottingham Forest ahead of the new season.
As reported in this week's Sunday Life Sport, Forest are preparing a £2m offer to bring the 23-year-old to the City Ground.
The former Crusaders star has made a flying start to life in professional football. He scored nine goals, including seven League One strikes, in his first season at Oxford United and earned rave reviews for his attacking displays.
With two years still to run on his deal at the Kassam Stadium, Forest's former Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill will have to convince United to let their star man move on.
The boss will be hoping Whyte's direct style of play could help catapult his side back into the top tier of English football, having missed out on a play-off place by eight points last term.
Whyte's eye-catching first season in England included a match-winning hat-trick against Shrewsbury back in April and it, unsurprisingly, led to high praise from Oxford boss Karl Robinson.
“We took a big chance on him in the summer, paid a bit of money for him, and that’s certainly probably one of the best deals I’ve ever made in relation to a football club. He’s performing, he’s fantastic. He’s electric, the little man.”
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After those hat-trick heroics, Whyte pointed to his future plans of earning a move up the English football pyramid. There's little doubt a shift to two-time European Cup winners Forest would interest the exciting talent.
"I wanted to go somewhere that I was going to get games and then maybe eventually have a chance of moving up," he said back in April. "Right now though I'm fully focused on doing well for Oxford - I'm loving it here.
"This season has been amazing. I've played far more games than I expected to at a tough level. I think I'm a better player now than I was last year as well. I've adjusted to full-time training and I'm stronger and quicker now."
Whyte, who scored with his first touch on his Northern Ireland debut last September, will have the chance to further impress his suitors when NI take on Estonia and Belarus in the upcoming Euro 2020 qualification double-header.
Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill said: "Gavin is a player that is widely talked about in the English game now.
"People are beginning to see the development he has made and that's a real positive for the Irish League."