When Nottingham Forest boss Dougie Freedman cast his recruitment net into deepest darkest Spain during pre-season, few would have expected him to emerge carrying one of the shrewdest gems the club has ever recruited.
The date was the 30th July, just eight days before the Reds would kick off their 2015/16 campaign, when the club announced via the official website that 23-year-old starlet Daniel Pinillos had put pen-to-paper on a two-year contract having signed for the club on a free transfer.
The Spaniard was released at the end of last season from Cordoba following their relegation from La Liga in his native country and Reds boss Freedman talked about the club doing superbly well to recruit the player on a contract of no more than 10k-per-week, to ensure they met their transfer embargo stipulations.
I have to say I was somewhat sceptical at the signing. Nothing against Daniel but when your club secure the services of a player who is an unknown quantity, an element of doubt will always be cast. The fact he arrived on a free meant that the risk placed on this particular piece of business was considerably lower but nonetheless I was still fairly anxious to see him play.
This is where I would like to thank Pinillos for proving me seriously wrong to ever doubt his ability on a football pitch.
I pen this article with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye (okay so that is a slight exaggeration), after the news that Pinillos will now miss the rest of the season after suffering a serious ACL injury against Milton Keynes Dons on Saturday.
In terms of injury problems at the City Ground it never rains it pours, and pours...and then pours some more. Why can we never get these little niggles that so many other clubs are blessed with? If it’s not a serious knee ligament injury, it’s a dislocated knee cap or a broken foot or even a ruptured groin that is beyond repair. Okay, I have finished ranting now, but you get my point, Forest are due some luck on the injury front.
The disappointing thing about the Pinillos injury is that he is so much better than any other player that we have at the club in his specialised role on the left hand side of defence.
Danny Fox is only a slightly better option than my 74-year-old grandmother and he has been a peripheral figure of late, whilst Kelvin Wilson, Michael Mancienne and Ben Osborn would all represent square pegs in round holes.
Pinillos was enjoying his football too, making this bombshell even more upsetting. He plays the game with a smile on his face and darts around the City Ground pitch with an enthusiasm that suggests it means a lot to him to be a Nottingham Forest player.
The talented star came up against the likes of Johnny Russell, Craig Conway, and Ahmed Elmohamady in his debut season in English football and performed impeccably.
The fact he offered such a robust style in stopping wingers in their tracks is something which Forest will desperately miss for the rest of this season.
Whilst he might not go down as the best left-back to ever play for Nottingham Forest in my life time – Stuart Pearce takes that one – he is certainly the most effective piece of free transfer business I can ever remember the club making.
Daniel, I think I speak for thousands of other fans when I say thank you for your efforts this season and all the best with your recovery.
For me you are now part of the Nottingham Forest family and we hope to see you back in the Garibaldi red sooner rather than later.
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