Premier League clubs Everton and West Ham United are reportedly interested in Nottingham Forest centre-back Joe Worrall.
According to The Sunday Mirror (h/t Football League World), Everton and West Ham United, along with Brighton & Hove Albion, sent scouts to watch Joe Worrall play against Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-finals. The 25-year-old English centre-back has been highly influential this season, and is thus attracting interest from Premier League clubs.
A right-footed centre-back, Worrall is a Nottingham Forest youth product and has made 170 appearances for them since gaining promotion to the first team in the 2016/17 season. He also spent a season on loan at Rangers, playing 30 matches for them in the 2018/19 season. But since his return to Nottingham in 2019, the English defender has been a mainstay at the club.
Worrall captained Nottingham against Liverpool, putting in a solid shift to keep his side in the game until the 78th minute. Diogo Jota scored a controversial goal, with replays showing that the Portuguese forward could have been offside when the ball was played. VAR, however, cleared all such doubts, ruling the goal valid as Jurgen Klopp’s men made it to the FA Cup semi-finals.
Worrall has made 29 EFL Championship appearances this season, helping Nottingham Forest keep 11 clean sheets in the process. Worrall’s positioning and strength in ground duels have stood out this season. The 25-year-old’s performances have caught the eyes of the three Premier League clubs, namely Everton, West Ham, and Brighton, and a summer move could be on the cards.
Joe Worrall vs. Liverpool:
• 4 clearances
• 1 blocked shot
• 5 interceptions
• 4 tackles
• 4/5 ground duels won
• 2/3 aerial duels won
• 64 touches
• 5 acc. long balls
— Callum Castel-Nuovo (@callumcasteln) March 20, 2022
The 25-year-old will have two years remaining on his contract after the ongoing season, and could command a decent fee in the summer.
Of the three interested clubs, Worrall could prefer a move to West Ham, with the Hammers in contention for a European berth. West Ham have been fighting for a top-four spot over the last couple of Premier League seasons and will want to add reinforcements in the summer to ensure they don’t fall off as the ‘Big Six’ continue to invest heavily in the market.
As for Everton, after a difficult season that has seen them battle hard to avoid relegation, bolstering the defence might be a key objective for the summer. With Michael Keane and Mason Holgate blowing hot and cold, bringing in someone like Worrall could be a step in the right direction. It remains to be seen which of West Ham, Everton and Brighton eventually manage to sign him.