Nottingham Forest are expected to complete a sensational £18 million ($24m) swoop for Hammarby wonderkid Jonas Christiansen after agreeing a deal with the Swedish club, Goal can reveal.
The 18-year-old Danish striker, whose form in the Allsvenskan in the early part of the season forced many of Europe’s top clubs to sit up and take notice, will sign a four-year deal with Forest.
The Championship outfit were surprise winners in the race for Christiansen’s signature, with many elite clubs reported to be interested.
It is understood that Forest had been keeping tabs on the striker for a number of months prior to his breakthrough at Hammarby, with new boss Nathaniel Milton insisting on an increase in the scouting budget following his appointment in July so that they could expand the club’s knowledge base across Europe.
Social media has been ablaze with excitement as Forest fans revel in the fact that their club is about to steal a march on some of the world’s biggest clubs in the transfer market, although there have been some reservations about the fee with a number of club legends among those to describe it as a gamble.
“I completely disagree; we’ve made a good deal which we’re very happy with,” said Milton. “I firmly believe Jonas Christiansen is destined for big things, whether at this club or somewhere else.”
A native of Aarhus, Christiansen starred for AGF’s youth teams before joining the Hammarby academy and graduating into the first team at the Swedish club as a 17-year-old.
Restricted to cameos from the bench in his first senior campaign, the precocious teen nailed down a starting position in his sophomore year after impressing in pre-season.
After bagging 12 goals in his first 10 games of the season, Christiansen was rewarded with his first call-up to the Denmark senior squad, making his international bow in November.
The move for Christiansen is now likely to bring an end to Forest’s tentative pursuit of veteran striker Mario Mandzukic, who emerged as a target following the horror injury sustained by first-choice attacker Lewis Grabban in December.
Negotiations had been ongoing with the Croatian star, who is desperate to end his Leicester City nightmare after arriving in the East Midlands following a short-lived spell in Qatar, with supporters excited by the prospect of the world-class Croatia international arriving at the City Ground.
Radamel Falcao, Olivier Giroud, Daniel Sturridge and even Diego Costa were all linked with the club, with a host of former players urging Milton not to gamble away the club’s season on a speculative punt with unknown youngster Christiansen.
The teenager is expected to go straight into the Forest first-team and Milton will be hopeful that he can hit the ground running by making a positive contribution to the club’s unlikely play-off push.
The City Ground outfit find themselves in sixth place in the Championship at the mid-way point of the campaign, with rookie boss Milton confounding expectations after a worrying start.
This weekend’s clash against Preston is likely to be too early for Christiansen to make his debut in red, but he will be in line to feature when Forest lock horns with AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup.