According to Premier League data, 82 teams have been relegated between 1992-93 and 2018-19. Out of these, only 11 teams made a straight comeback to the Premier League, while 22 teams took more than one season. This shows how tough it is for a club to bounce back after being relegated from the top league. Maybe someone at Nottingham Forest was reading these stats as they concluded one of the craziest transfer windows in football history. This followed their incredible revival under Steve Cooper, which got them to the Premier League in the first place.
While the significant eyes were on the big moves such as the signing of Erling Haaland, and the transfer of Darwin Nunez, Nottingham have an entire matchday squad. And they added another two players on the deadline day. Will it work? Only time can tell. Forest have stumbled a bit after starting the season encouraginly. One thing is for sure, even if Forest do go down, they will do so swinging for the fences.
So, what is the story behind the Nottingham Forest transfers? We explain.
Nottingham Forest transfers
When Nottingham Forest won the play-off against Huddersfield, it was a historic moment for the club. The Tricky Trees were back in the top flight after 23 years. However, while fans celebrated this achievement behind the scenes, a different story played out. Despite the promotion, the Forest squad’s depth was non-existent. James Garner, Djed Spence, Philip Zinckernagel, and Keinan Davis, who all played in the play-off final, are no longer at the club. In addition, play-off hero Brice Samba and forward Nuno de Costa also departed the club.
The team could put a strong 11 on the pitch, but beyond that, the squad was down to bare bones. And this has sparked the most significant transfer window of the club’s history.
To put Nottingham Forest's transfer activity into context, they are averaging a new player every four days so far this window.🤯
— Ben Jacobs (@JacobsBen) August 19, 2022
Nottingham Forest ended the window by signing 21 players, pretty much two wholly new first XIs. There isn’t a position on the field Forest didn’t sign a player for.
So, will Nottingham Forest transfers improve the quad? And, will it be enough to save them from relegation? Let’s meet Nottingham Forest’s transfer
Rating Nottingham Forest transfers
Defence: Goalkeepers revamped, centre backs, full backs added
Despite Samba’s brilliance as a goalkeeper, Forest wasted no time upgrading the position. First, Samba was sold to French side Lens. Then, he was replaced with Dean Henderson from Manchester United on loan. The 25-year-old is among the best goalkeepers in the league and is one of the players in the running to be the number one goalkeeper for England at the World Cup. He has been an assured presence between the sticks and already has two penalty saves to his name. Nottingham have also signed Wayne Hennessey, who has a lot of Premier League experience.
The centre of the defence is a position where Forest was the strongest before the transfer window began. Scott McKenna, Steve Cook, and Joe Worrall formed a formidable trio that was the bedrock of the team’s promotion. But there was no depth if one of them got injured. So forest added Moussa Niakhate, who played against Nottingham, and Giulian Biancone.
They also added Wolverhampton Wanderers’s centre-back Willy Boly. Wolves manager Bruno Lage had earlier told media that the defender had failed to report for the match against Newcastle United. They also added Loic Bade on loan from Stade Rennais on deadline day, further boosting the squad.
With these four signings, Copper now has the options to manage the defence’s workload.
Nottingham Forest have reached an agreement with Wolverhampton to sign top target Morgan Gibbs-Whites 📝
✅ That's 16 new signings for Forest now
✅ Second highest transfer spenders this summer
— Stats24 (@_Stats24) August 19, 2022
Their most significant loss in defence was right wingback Djed Spence who signed for Tottenham. However, very few realistic options were as good as Spence. Thankfully, Neco Willimas is one of those options. Forrest have also added an experienced option in Serge Aurier, who will provide healthy competition for Williams. The two defenders have negated the loss of Spence to a large extent.
Left-back is a position where Nottingham has always had problems. Last season, Cooper had to rely on Jack Colback, an able deputy, after an injury to Max Lowe. It is why the club has added Omar Richards and Harry Toffolo.
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Midfield: Signings, singings and more signings
Of the 21 signings conducted, most have been in the middle of the park. Nottingham have added seven players in various midfield positions. The team was light in the defensive midfield, with Jack Colback playing left-back. Now Colback is back in his position and will face competition from Cheikhou Kouyate, who joined from Crystal Palace.
The club has added three solid players: Orel Mangala, Lewis O’Brien, and Remo Freuler. The three players add squad depth and quality to the team. Freuler, in particular, will bring lots of experience. The Swiss international played for six years at Atalanta and has played against some of the top teams in Serie A and Champions League.
The type of transfer window everyone thought Newcastle will have is what Nottingham forest are having
— Master Kyei𓃵🇬🇭 (@adams_kyei) August 17, 2022
However, it is the attacking midfielders where Nottingham went all out in search of quality. Morgan Gibbs-White became their costliest signing as Forest shelled out €29.5 million for the Englishman. He was integral to Sheffield United in the Championship last season as he scored 12 goals. Their subsequent signing in the area is even more experienced. Jesse Lingard has been snapped on a free transfer but is an incredible statement signing. Lingard has shown his brilliance during his spell at West Ham and could do so again for Cooper as well.
Attack: Two down, one to go
The attack is one area where Nottingham would have liked to add at least one quality player (Yes, really!). The club may have added brilliant midfielders who can create a lot of chances, but it is of no use when you don’t have players who can get on the end of those chances to score.
Brennan Johnson was their star attacker with 19 goals in the Championship but Cooper knows Premier League is a different beast. Goals will be essential if Nottingham finds themselves in a relegation scrap.
Taiwo Awoniyi is a brilliant signing in that regard. The Nigerian was the sixth-highest scorer in the Bundesliga with 15 goals. His goals were instrumental in Union Berlin’s impressive fifth-place finish. Though not at Awoniyi’s level, Emmanuel Dennis offers a persistent presence and is an able deputy. Nottingham also made a late attempt for Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi but he ended up at Fenerbahce.
19.28% of the Premier League summer transfers have been signed by Nottingham Forest. #nffc https://t.co/pLu7wUxyXP
— Liam Henshaw (@HenshawAnalysis) August 20, 2022
Will Nottingham Forest transfers help them avoid the drop?
Nottingham Forest have spent €148.05 million in the transfer market. That is an enormous amount, no matter how big a club is. The philosophy of owner and majority shareholder Evangelos Marinakis is simple. If they manage to stay a season or two in the league, they could recover these costs and post pre-tax profits at the very least. The club earned more than €200 million by getting promoted to the league. If they stay up for one more season, it could rise to €355 million.
More importantly, Nottingham Forest have a manager who is a master at assembling teams. Signing 21 players might seem like a luxury of too many on paper. However, integrating those players in a defined set-up has the potential to become a tactical nightmare.
40 points is widely regarded as the magic number when it comes to avoiding the drop. Six games in, Forest are only at four.
In previous seasons, clubs such as Fulham have spent ridiculous amounts of money and still gone down. However, some teams like Ason Villa have also managed to succeed. So there is definitely no one certain way to ensure safety.
On which side will Nottingham Forest land? It remains to be seen. However, no matter where they finish, the club and owners cannot be blamed for a lack of ambition. Signings have been made with positional and tactical needs in mind. Recruitment has not been scattergun, and there have been some true coups in the transfer window. Go down swinging or a statement season in the Premier League- time will tell.