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A guide to Nottingham Forest’s 22/23 transfer window.

To say it is unusual for a professional football club to bring in a total of 22 players in one transfer window would be understated. That is exactly what Premier League new boys Nottingham Forest have done though. Fans have rightly questioned whether this will lead to what happened to Fulham in the 2018/19 season when the club spent over £100 million pounds on 12 players who failed to gel together, leading to relegation. However a deeper look into these Forest signings shows there is clear strategy into signing these players with the majority having played in a back 5 system which is Steve Coopers formation of choice.


Goalkeeper:

Forest got their goalkeeper business done early with the free signing of Premier League regular and Wales international Wayne Hennessey and Manchester United shot stopper Dean Henderson on loan. Henderson looks sure to be a superb signing as he has been itching for a move away from Old Trafford for over a year and wants to make his way into Gareth Southgates squad for the upcoming World Cup. An already proven Premier League quality goalkeeper, Forest should feel safe with Henderson behind the sticks.


Defence:

The area that has seen the biggest upturn has definitely been the defence with an array of centre backs and wing backs being brought in. With Steve Cook, Scott Mckenna and Joe Warrall already at the club it may have come as a surprise that Forest signed a further 3 centre backs. The most expensive was Mainz player Moussa Niakhate who arrived for a fee of £9million. He will slot straight into the sweeper role which he expertly carried out in Germany and will provide real leadership within the squad as seen by being handed the Mainz captaincy at the age of 26. Premier League veteran Willy Boly has arrived from Wolves and at a fee of £2 million is just expected to provide backup. Then there is Loic Bade who at 22 years of age has much potential. Arriving from Ligue 1 outfit Rennes he will have something to prove to his parent club after falling out of favour last season. Joe Worrall should be wary of his place in the team at right centre back.


Then comes the wing back arrivals. Arriving for £18 million is Neco Williams from Liverpool who will have the task of replacing last year's fan favourite Djed Spence on the right flank. If the start of the season is anything to go by then he is more than capable as he has added an energy and panache to the Forest squad that has otherwise been lacking. Backing Williams up will be the largely unknown Giulian Biancone who has arrived from Troyes for £9 million. He will no doubt be the more defensive option. Forest have also added Tottenham old boy Serge Aurier to their ranks and it remains to be seen if he will be an important player or a bench warmer considering the amount of money that has been spent on the right. On the left flank Forest managed to sign Renan Lodi on loan from Atletico Madrid in what many see as a real coup. He will add a big game experience that the squad is mostly lacking while providing countless amounts of energy along the left flank. Omar Richards (£7.5 million) and Harry Toffolo (£2 million) have also arrived to add backup on the left side of defence. Toffolo has started very well while Richards has been injured and it will remain to be seen if he can perform at the top level after a disappointing season with Bayern Munich after leaving championship outfit Reading.



Midfield:

The versatile Cheikhou Kouyate has arrived on a free transfer and will add a valuable Premier League experience while also being able to play in the backline and midfield. Forest also signed Remo Freuler from Atalanta who for the most of his career has played as a midfielder in a 5-2-3 system. Expect the Swiss international to show his Champions League quality. Then there is Orel Mangala who for £12 million has arrived from VFB Stuttgart. He has been one of their most impressive and reliable players in recent seasons but question marks will hang over his head if he is up to it in the physical Premier League. Huddersfield box to box man Lewis O’brien has also been brought in which shows the depth the Forest manager wants!


Forward Line:

After scoring 15 Bundesliga goals with Union Berlin last year Forest decided Taiwo Awoniyi was their man and bought the player for £18 million. A large investment on a player who simply does his best work in the box. 1 goal in 6 games so far shows he has a long way to go to make the cut. This is unlike Emmanuel Dennis who scored an impressive 10 Premier League goals last season and he will be a nice contrast to Awoniyi as Dennis will be looking to run in behind defenders and showcase his pace and trickery. In attacking midfield Jesse Lingard surprised fans of the game by deciding to join Forest as the free agent had a range of other suitors. Reportedly the best paid player at the club he will hope another season on the bench at Manchester United has not affected his fitness or final third quality. Therefore Forest spent the most money on Morgan Gibbs White from Wolves for an initial £26 million. A very large fee for someone who has played his best football in the Championship. However manager Steve Cooper has worked with Gibbs White before at Swansea and in the England youth set up so the player will know what the manager wants which makes the investment seem more warranted. Then there was the combined fee of £5 million spent on Josh Bowler from Blackpool and Ui-Jo Hwang from Bordeaux who have left already on loan to sister club Olympiakos.


After 23 years in the wilderness, Forest are finally back in the top flight and if their transfer business is anything to go by they are here to stay. With £145 million spent on 22 players, owner Evangelos Marinakis cannot be accused of lack of ambition or investment this time. With players needed after loans ending or contracts coming to an end the investment has been calculated with a focus on players used to a back 5 system. However if Forest don’t stay up will they live to regret the sum of money being spent?



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