Nottingham Forest have already spent 70 million euros in front of the APL
After 23 years, Nottingham Forest, back in the top flight of English clubs, were certainly expected to strengthen their top-flight performances. The team had thinned considerably by the end of June, as it was partly staffed through loan spells (Max Lowe, Jed Spence, Jordy Osei-Tutu, James Garner, Philip Zinekernagel, Keynan Davies were gone). The club’s managers aren’t disappointing their fans, however — by July 12, the team already has six solid newcomers. About each in detail:
Goalkeeper Dean Henderson
The 25-year-old Englishman’s 2021/22 season has been a vacation one – only 5 appearances on the field, with none in the APL. Dean failed to compete with David De Gea, the team’s best player of the season. However, Henderson has been called up to the England national team since 2020, so this goalkeeper obviously does not want to warm the bench, as he himself confirmed.
In early July, the Foresters left Congolese keeper Brice Samba (left for Lance), who had been defending the team’s goal since 2019. Ethan Horvath was also loaned out. Therefore, only 27-year-old Jordan Smith, who played in 3 games last season, is left out of Henderson’s competition, which clearly does not speak in his favor.
Central defender Moussa Niakate
On July 6 Nottingham announced the signing of the 26-year-old Frenchman. Since his transfer to the Carnival players’ camp from Metz in 2018, Moussa has become an ironclad player of the Red and White base, playing at least 30 games in each of his seasons. At the end of the 2021/22 season on Whoscored, Niakate earned the highest score of his career at 6.72. The 1’90 centerback has good concentration on the field, doesn’t drop out of the game and rarely makes a bad mistake, with the only obvious downsides being trouble with assists.
Steve Cooper also has Joe Worrall, Scott McKenna, Steve Cook, Loic Mbaye Soh and Joe Panzo at his disposal right now, but Niakate is superior to any of those listed above, so he will clearly be a key player.
Right-back Neko Williams
The Wales national team player signed a four-year contract with Nottingham. Insider Fabrizio Romano reported that Liverpool will receive 15% of the player’s next sale in addition to €20 million.
Williams is a graduate of the Merseyside club who began his career with the Reds as a U9. Neko played in 33 games for the club. In the second half of last season he played in Fulham – 14 games in the Champions League, in which he scored 2 goals and made 2 assists.
The main strength of Neko are accurate passes, also good at dribbling, crosses and passes, good control and takes the ball away. However, with the caveat that all of these qualities are not up to the top level from which Williams has slipped to the APL newcomer. Although Jurgen Klopp has stated that letting the player go was not easy for him:
A great move for Neko, and great news in many ways. He is a bright, exciting talent, and is moving to a club that is on the rise. I’m a big fan of the Foresters coach. He’s known Neko since he worked at the academy. I think they are perfect for each other.
To be honest, it wasn’t easy to let Neko go, but he deserves to play regularly and prepare properly for the World Cup. I’m proud of all of us for the role we’ve played in his growth and development. We wish him nothing but success.
Central striker Taiwo Avoniyi
Last season the top scorer of the Foresters was attacking midfielder Brennan Johnson with 19 goals. Centerback Lewis Grabban, who scored 13 goals, left the team due to the expiration of his contract. The club decided to strengthen the attack with Avoniyi, the Union’s top scorer last season (15 goals in 31 games). The contract with the 24-year-old Nigerian was signed for 5 years. “Forest announced that the transfer of Taiwo was a record in the history of the club, without naming the exact amount.
In addition to his good finishing game Avoniyi is notable for his decent dribbling, from the minuses we can highlight weak ball control and play on the second floor, as well as reluctant pressing. Taiwo scored most of his goals last season in the first half of 2021/22, but then the level of performances dropped markedly. The Nigerian is not a speedy player, capable of making quick decisions, but with a good assist he is capable of decent execution.
Left-back Omar Richards
The 24-year-old Englishman signed a four-year contract with Nottingham. The Munich club will also receive 15% of the player’s next sale. Richards moved to Bayern in the summer of 2021 from Reading on the rights of the free agent. He played a total of 17 games for the Bavarians during the season, in which he made 1 assist.
Universal defender Julian Biancon
The Foresters have signed the 22-year-old Frenchman to a contract until 2025. It is not yet clear which role Steve Cooper will use Biancon in. Julian managed to play in seven positions last season, covering both wings and the center of defense. The Frenchman, at 1.87, is good in the air and has a high rebounding rate. His minuses are mistakes in passing and ball control.
Now awaiting reinforcements at centre-back
The British media also claimed that Forest will beef up their midfield as well, which could cost another 20-25 million euros. The need for new transfers was also stated by coach Cooper:
We still need a lot more transfers. We need a balance, between the team spirit we showed last season and the ability to replace the five main players who left for their clubs. We got off to a good start, in terms of bringing in players, but that’s just the beginning.
We need a lot more. We understood that, because all the rented players had to return to their clubs and there was no guarantee that we would be able to invite them again. So we were ready for a busy window.
Of course, it’s a challenge. But putting a team together for a league, no matter what league, is always a challenge. Obviously, the task is more difficult now, because we’ll be participating in the Premier League. But we’ve already started the process, adding to this group of players who have been our focus. And we have to keep going, improving and improving and improving and improving every day.