Nottingham Forest's spending spree – the 20 new faces brought in to help Premier League survival bid

By Sports Desk September 02, 2022

There are several ways in which promoted teams can approach their first transfer window in the Premier League.

One method is the path well worn by Norwich City, a more conservative approach to recruitment aiming to consolidate the squad that gained promotion and add in one or two fresh faces on cheaper deals or loans. For the Canaries, it has resulted in them becoming the proverbial yo-yo club; too good for the Championship, but not quite good enough to stay up.

Bournemouth, much to the apparent chagrin of former head coach Scott Parker, seem to have taken that approach this season. It remains to be seen how that will play out. 

There is a middle ground, the route taken by Leeds United in 2020, where five to 10 additions of quality, from across the continent or from within the Premier League, are prioritised. Fulham – big spenders in past seasons, to little success – are testing that one out this time around. 

Then, there always seems to be one of the promoted sides that turn around their squad on a grand scale. However, the scale of change seen at Nottingham Forest this time around has been unprecedented.

A whopping 20 (yes, twenty) first-team players had arrived before the deadline passed on September 1, and it would have been 21 had Forest pushed through a move for Chelsea outcast Michy Batshuayi in time. Steve Cooper relied heavily on loan players last season, most of whom left the club, but even still, the quantity of incomings has been remarkable.

Forest have already handed out 18 Premier League debuts this season (seven more than any other team) and could still make a 21st signing – free agent Serge Aurier is reportedly a target. For now, here's the 20 new faces Cooper can call on.


We'll start at the back, in the form of goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who signed on loan from Manchester United to replace the departing Brice Samba. While the latter was crucial last season, England international Henderson is an upgrade and came in as the club's second senior signing on July 2. He has already proved his worth, saving two penalties (one in a win over West Ham, the other in last week's loss to Tottenham). Wayne Hennessey signed from Burnley 13 days later to provide experienced competition.


The first defender through the door was right-back Giulian Biancone, and the 22-year-old was followed by coveted Mainz centre-back Moussa Niakhate for a reported fee of £8.5million (€9.8m) plus £4.2m (€4.8m) in potential add-ons. Full-backs Omar RichardsNeco Williams and Harry Toffolo arrived from Bayern Munich and Liverpool, but after three games Cooper wanted more. Renan Lodi watched Forest lose to Spurs before signing on loan from Atletico Madrid, underlining the pull of the Premier League and regular minutes in a World Cup year, with Willy Boly (Wolves, reported £2.25m) and Loic Bade (Rennes, loan) rounding off their defensive business.


It took until July 20 for Forest to bolster their midfield, with Lewis O'Brien signing from Huddersfield Town. A day later, Forest's first marquee signing of the window arrived in the form of Jesse Lingard, who had left Manchester United following the expiration of his contract. Orel Mangala is an energetic holding player who has slotted straight in after signing from Stuttgart, with the versatile Cheikhou Kouyate an experienced free acquisition from Crystal Palace. Remo Freuler has played in the Champions League with Atalanta, and Forest went all-out for Morgan Gibbs-White, paying Wolves a reported £25m for the England youth international, with add-ons potentially taking the deal to £42.5m.


Goals win games, and Forest – who were thrashed 6-0 by champions Manchester City in a huge reality check last time out – have managed only two in the league this season despite their incomings. In Gibbs-White and Lingard they have added creativity, though their attack is yet to click. Taiwo Awoniyi scored 15 Bundesliga goals last term for Union Berlin and got Forest's winner against West Ham, though that is his only strike in five appearances so. Emmanuel Dennis' 10 goals were not enough to keep Watford up, but Forest were still willing to pay £20m to bring in the Nigerian, while they will be hoping Hwang Ui-jo replicates the 11 league goals he managed for Bordeaux in 2021-22. Winger Josh Bowler signed in a reported £4m deal from Blackpool Town just before the deadline.

Related items

  • Pete Wild fumes at ‘outrageous’ penalty as Barrow held by Crawley Pete Wild fumes at ‘outrageous’ penalty as Barrow held by Crawley

    Furious Barrow manager Pete Wild criticised the award of Crawley’s penalty in his side’s 1-1 draw at the Broadfield Stadium as an “outrageous, ludicrous decision”.

    Striker Emile Acquah headed Barrow into the lead shortly before the interval but Danilo Orsi’s 20th goal of the season from the spot midway through the second half dragged Crawley level and kept them in the play-off places along with their opponents.

    Wild severely criticised referee Sam Purkiss for “taking 20 seconds” to make the penalty decision for a handball by Rory Feeley, and he answered in the affirmative when asked if he thought the linesman had made the decision because the referee had not seen it.

    Said Wild: “We were outstanding, especially with what we’ve gone through (losing three games in a row).

    “It was a classic Barrow performance, solid at the back and threatening on the counter-attack.

    “That was very pleasing but then it’s all ruined by an outrageous, ludicrous decision that was made without any thought.

    “It’s ruined it for us after scoring a great goal.”

    Wild was mystified why referee Purkiss took the time he did in deciding to give a penalty, and added: “It took 20 seconds to make that decision, why was that?

    “There were two more crosses going into the box in that time before the decision was made.”

    Crawley’s point came after two successive defeats and boss Scott Lindsey felt his men did everything they could to try and force victory.

    He said: “We did everything possible to try and win a game of football.

    “We were up against a strong, defensive unit in Barrow and if we perform like that in our last two games we’ll be fine.”

    Seventh-placed Crawley hold a one-point advantage over Walsall and Lindsey believes his side are the “calmest” team in the play-off places owing to them being written off as “relegation fodder” at the start of the season.

    He said: “We are the calmest because we are not supposed to be there. It is still in our hands and we are not worrying about other teams.”

    Lindsey admitted he was “angry” about the booking of midfielder Jay Williams as he claimed Purkiss “booked the wrong player” and Williams will now miss the last two games.

    The former Swindon boss said: “I’m angry about that as Jay has done so well for me.

    “Jeremy Kelly made the foul but Jay won the tackle and yet he was booked. It’s the wrong decision, it’s not fair and should be looked at.”

  • Still work to do for Colchester – Danny Cowley Still work to do for Colchester – Danny Cowley

    Danny Cowley insists Colchester still have work to do to secure their League Two status despite their vital 2-0 home win over Grimsby.

    Colchester took a fifth-minute lead through Tom Hopper, who ran onto Arthur Read’s excellent pass and coolly lifted the ball over goalkeeper Jake Eastwood and in.

    And John Akinde sealed the Us’ victory in the 79th minute when he lifted a fine effort from just inside the area into the far corner, from Noah Chilvers’ pass.

    The victory relegated Forest Green, who did not even play on Tuesday night, but Colchester boss Cowley said: “We’ve still got work to do but I think we can be really pleased with ourselves tonight.

    “I thought we had a really good first half an hour and went 1-0 up, could have gone 2-0 up.

    “But we didn’t go 2-0 up at that time and probably in the middle part of the game, there was a bit of a storm.

    “We lost Alistair Smith which was a big loss and came out and tried to keep the same system that just didn’t quite work, with the personnel.

    “So then they were quite gung-ho and loading six on the attacking line so we went to a back five and I think once we did that on maybe 50 minutes, we got a foothold back in the game and looked a real threat on the counter-attack.

    “We had numerous chances and it took a Glenn Hoddle-esque chip from John Akinde to win us the game.”

    Grimsby, who are not yet mathematically safe, pushed hard for an equaliser after falling behind early on and Donovan Wilson and Harry Clifton went close to levelling.

    But despite Colchester defender Tom Dallison being dismissed for a foul on Justin Obikwu in stoppage time, Colchester claimed victory.

    Grimsby boss David Artell said: “If I give anyone the hairdryer treatment, it’s for lack of effort and there wasn’t lack of effort tonight.

    “That’s the only time I’ll get irate and it’s not my job to shout at people – it’s my job to help people get better.

    “Do you ever get a teacher shouting at a 10-year-old? It’s his job to help them.

    “For me, it’s about standards, it’s about making sure with that final pass and that was the difference tonight.

    “It’s about having those standards from where we are to maybe that next level.

    “They’ve picked a team to try to outmuscle us and win those set-pieces and we’ve stood up to all that, which is credit to the players, but it’s that difference between the ball going behind someone and not through on goal and actually someone scoring the goal.”

  • Nigel Clough hails ‘unbelievable achievement’ as Mansfield clinch promotion Nigel Clough hails ‘unbelievable achievement’ as Mansfield clinch promotion

    Mansfield manager Nigel Clough was relieved to see his side clinch promotion with two games to play after a 2-1 home victory over Accrington.

    The Stags had wobbled recently with one point from three games before roaring back, with this third straight win securing League One football for the first time since 2002.

    Clough said: “I feel hugely relieved to get over the line – I didn’t want it to go to Saturday or possibly the week after going to Barrow.

    “I think the MK Dons result on Saturday gave us a huge incentive to get it done tonight.

    “But the season is not over yet. It is in terms of achieving our aim but we still have two games to play.

    “So we will do everything we can to beat Gillingham on Saturday and then get something at Barrow the week after.

    “It is a special night and an unbelievable achievement for Mansfield to be playing in the league above for the first time in 22 years.

    “This is for the thousands that were here tonight, some people have been supporting the club for 50-60 years – it’s for them.

    “They have seen some quite low times here over the years, so it’s lovely they can enjoy tonight.

    “Some supporters have said to me it’s the best season they have ever seen at Mansfield, not just the promotion but the football – and that is pleasing.”

    George Maris gave Stags the perfect start as, from a short corner, he launched the ball towards the near post where it found the net off Stanley’s Tommy Leigh.

    Stanley goalkeeper Radek Vitek then made good saves to deny Hiram Boateng while Maris failed to turn a low cross into an empty net at full stretch.

    But Stephen Quinn made it 2-0 on 63 minutes at the second attempt after Vitek saved his first effort.

    Leigh did grab a fine volleyed consolation after 85 minutes before a pitch invasion and wild scenes.

    Accrington boss John Doolan hoped watching the Stags’ celebrations would inspire his young side.

    He said: “It’s Mansfield’s night and it’s fantastic for them.

    “They have been trying for a number of years to get themselves up and promoted so well done to Nigel and Andy (Garner) and all the playing staff.

    “That’s what you want to aspire to and that’s where you want to get.

    “We’ve done it before so there’s no stopping this group of young lads that’s coming through and this is what they want. We will move on and hopefully that can be us in 12 months.

    “We came here to try to spoil the party and I think the lads did their best and showed that.

    “We wanted to stay in the game so we had a game plan to play in blocks of 15 or 20 minutes.

    “That early goal kills you a little bit but the lads showed resilience and character to get in at half-time to sort ourselves out. They never stopped and we pushed them right to the end.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.