This season was supposed to be one of major development for Aro Muric.
The Manchester City stopper had shown fleeting moments of quality at City, featuring in Carabao Cup games last season. Already a full international with Kosovo, Muric was touted for a bright future.
With Ederson in place and Claudio Bravo back from injury, Muric’s path to first-team football was blocked at City. A loan move was best for all parties, but City’s choice may backfire now.
As we reported over the summer, North End wanted Muric. Relations with City were strong, having taken Brandon Barker and Lukas Nmecha on loan last season. It looked like a deal was close, but Preston were pipped by Nottingham Forest.
Forest managed to secure a deal, hijacking Preston’s interest. His start wasn’t great, struggling in a pre-season friendly at Olympiacos. Now, he’s stuck in a strange situation at the City Ground.
Muric started the season as Forest’s first-choice, but the warning signs were there. City sent him to Forest despite Martin O’Neill being sacked whilst the deal was being negotiated. New boss Sabri Lamouchi then brought in his own goalkeeper.
Lamouchi didn’t just bring in another body, he paid €2.1million (£1.8million) to land Brice Samba from SM Caen, as noted by L’Equipe. That would have been a huge fee for a backup, and it’s now seemingly overtaken Muric already.
Muric started last week’s draw at Charlton Athletic but was benched against Fulham last weekend. Returning to the side to face Derby County in the cup was expected, but Lamouchi stuck with Samba.
He has promised the Nottingham Post that Muric will play again, claiming he just wanted more experience in his side. Displacing the 25-year-old will be a struggle though, and City will wonder whether they’ve made the right choice sending him to Forest after all.
Preston visit Forest this weekend, and some may wonder whether Muric could have been playing had he joined North End instead. It now seems likely that he’ll have to watch Alex Neil’s side in action from the bench, which isn’t what he – or City – will have wanted when he made the move. There’s time for Muric to turn this situation around, but it hasn’t been the ideal start to the season for him.