Potential Forest catch Simon Cox: Profile
Nottingham Forest are vying for the signature of West Brom striker Simon Cox, and are understood to be the first club to have matched the Baggies' asking price for the 25-year-old.
Forest are hoping to quickly tie up the deal for the Republic of Ireland international, who has been with West Bromwich Albion since July 2009.
Cox started his career at his hometown club of Reading, where he made his first-team debut in the League Cup against Luton in 2005.
Cox penned his first professional contract with the club, which he joined at the age of nine, in November that year.
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In September 2006 Cox joined Brentford on what was initially a one-month loan. His spell was brought to an abrupt halt when he broke his leg – an injury from which he did not recover until November.
He then resumed his loan stint with the club, and remained with them until January 2007.
In March Cox went out on loan once again, this time to Northampton Town. Boss Stuart Gray said of the player, who joined the club on a one month loan: "Simon is a good young player and a great prospect.
“He is a striker and I'm very grateful to Reading for letting him come out on loan to us.”
His performance saw his loan extended until the end of the season.
In July 2007 Cox signed a one-year contract extension at Reading. The following month, on deadline day, he joined Swindon Town on a six-month loan.
By January 2008 reports suggested Cox was likely to be sold in the near future. Cox admitted he would be keen to return to the League One side, and was waiting for the Royals to grant him permission to leave.
Later that month Cox joined Swindon Town on a permanent basis, penning a two-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee. His stellar performance saw him win the League One Player of the Month award for October.
But by January 2009 the player confessed he was willing to see what options were available to him in January, after his form earned him interest from Premier League clubs.
He told skysports.com: "I'd have to consider all the options available to me really, but it wouldn't just be my decision, as obviously the two clubs have to come to a decision first and then it's down to me and my family to consider it.
"If it gives me the chance to better myself then I'd be mad not to take it."
In April 2009 the striker, who had netted eight goals in eight games, was named League One Powerade Player of the Month for March.
Awards panel chief Chris Kamara said: "Simon Cox is simply a goal machine. All the big clubs have had a look at him and you can see why.
"He's beginning to reach his full potential and his goals have helped Swindon stay clear of the League One relegation zone."
In May that year Swindon rejected two bids for the top scorer – one from Leicester City, the other thought to be from Celtic. Swindon manager Danny Wilson revealed he was "half expecting" his top scorer to leave, however, but insisted the deal must be right for both the club and player.
A matter of weeks later, in July 2009, Cox moved to West Bromwich Albion for an initial fee of £1.5m. It was agreed the fee could rise to £1.9m, depending on how well the 22-year-old performed at The Hawthorns.
Cox, who was League One's joint top scorer the previous season with 29 goals, penned a two-year deal with the club. The player had netted 32 times in total for Swindon the previous term.
In April 2010 Cox said he would be happy to trigger a two-year extension to his current contract.
He told the Birmingham Mail: "I am settled up here now, I am very happy. It's a good club and I'd like to stay for a few more years at least."
Eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland through his Irish-born grandmother, Cox was first called up to the squad by Giovanni Trapattoni in May 2011.
By December 2011 Cox had gone on the record saying he may have to consider a move away from West Bromwich Albion in the January transfer window in order to play regular first-team football.
The striker had struggled to force his way into the Albion first team. He started just one game in the Premier League that season, and featured off the bench for Roy Hodgson's side on five occasions.
Disappointed with his lack of playing time, Cox told the Birmingham Mail: "I'm never happy when I'm not playing. I would like to play more and it might be something I have to look at in the Christmas period.”
But the striker got the prime opportunity to show off his talent following an injury to Shane Long in January 2012. His hat-trick against the Bluebirds prompted Roy Hodgson to insist: “I've never considered him going elsewhere.
"I don't know what he's said to the press, but as far as I'm concerned he is a West Bromwich Albion player, and I'm very happy about that.”
Later that month Birmingham showed interest in Cox, and by May he was understood to have caught the eye of Celtic also.
Cox, who is valued at £3.5million, was approached by Blackburn in July, and by Swansea. Nottingham Forest are the latest club to have expressed an interest in the forward.
It remains to be seen whether Forest will land the player, who was in May selected in Trapattoni's 23-man squad for the UEFA Euro 2012.
Cox has scored ten goals in 65 appearances for the Baggies.