In season 2022/23, Nottingham Forest will feature in the English top-flight for the first time in 24 years. Former England under-19 head coach Steve Cooper did an extraordinary job guiding the Tricky Trees from bottom of the Championship table in his arrival to promotion via winning the play-offs last season.
It will be a big season for Forest. As a newly promoted team, they have instantly been labelled as one of the favourites to suffer relegation next season.
Forest busy in the transfer market
Forest’s squad last season did a fine job. However, they would always need more quality in the summer. The club from the Midlands have done just that by already completing five signings. The latest signing is full-back Omar Richards who recently arrived from Bayern Munich.
The 24-year-old arrives from Bayern Munich after a short stint with the Bavarian giants. The former reading full-back follows Dean Henderson, Moussa Niakhate, Taiwo Awoniyi and Giulian Biancone as new arrivals at the City Ground. Liverpool’s Welsh international full-back Neco Williams is also expected to join Forest for around £17million.
The deals look to be shrewd
On paper, the arrivals look to be very shrewd moves. Dean Henderson, for example, is an England international who impressed during a two-year loan deal at Sheffield United. However, upon on his return to Manchester United, his path to regular football was blocked by David de Gea, who has been one of the best goalkeepers in the world game in recent seasons.
Niakhate has been superb at times for Bo Svensson’s Mainz team. The centre-back was one of the key players as Mainz produced a great escape from relegation before just missing out on a European spot last season.
However, the player that could turn out to be the most important of the lot is Nigerian international forward Taiwo Awoniyi. The 24-year-old scored 15 goals in the Bundesliga for Union Berlin. His goals helped the club from the German capital claim a spot in the Europa League. If given the proper supply, the ex-Liverpool youngster could prove to be the man to score the goals to help Forest stay up.
Richards himself was so highly-rated in 2021 that German giants Bayern Munich decided to sign the full-back from Championship Reading. He made 13 appearances for the German champions in all competitions, five of which were starts in the Bundesliga. His time with Bavarians can only have helped his development.
Nottingham Forest can beat the drop in season 2022/23
Only fellow Premier League new boys Bournemouth are at shorter odds to suffer relegation to the Championship next season. However, it would be foolish to write off Forest as simply relegation fodder.
In Steve Cooper, they have one of the most promising up-and-coming British bosses in the game. His tactical acumen and know-how were not only enough to earn Forest promotion, but they were promoted with the second-best defensive record in the division.
While the Premier League is undoubtedly a big step from the second tier, their stellar defensive record shows that they are well organised. That organisation can be the key to staying clear of the danger zone in the English top flight.
Cooper’s presence and the new recruits could well be enough to see the Trick Trees maintain their top-flight status, which would be a good result for many neutrals.
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