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An entire XI of new Nottingham Forest signings, including £13m Mangala

Steve Cooper and Dane Murphy might have a future in holiday planning when they’ve finished with football. Because the Nottingham Forest bosses certainly know how…

The post An entire XI of new Nottingham Forest signings, including £13m Mangala appeared first on HITC.

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Steve Cooper and Dane Murphy might have a future in holiday planning when they’ve finished with football. Because the Nottingham Forest bosses certainly know how to cram a lot into one summer. 

According to The Athletic, Forest reached an agreement on Monday to sign Orel Mangala from Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart for a fee of £12.74 million.  

The box-to-box Belgium international, who has also been linked with West Ham United and Crystal Palace, will become Forest’s 12th new signing since beating Huddersfield Town in May’s Championship play-off final.  

And they’re not done yet either. Far from it. 

New-look Nottingham Forest

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Another left-sider is high on Cooper’s wishlist; Nottingham Forest reportedly failed with a £4 million bid for Real Betis flyer Alex Moreno last week. Sporting Lisbon’s former Wolves starlet Ruben Vinagre is another option. Ditto Maxwel Cornet of Burnley. 

Can Jesse Lingard light the Forest on fire?

And it speaks volumes about the variety of Forest’s summer business that you could conceivably field an XI made up entirely new signings. So long as you allow us a bit of wriggle room, of course, regarding the inclusion of Brandon Aguilera. 

The 19-year-old attacking midfielder – who should feature for Costa Rica at the Qatar World Cup – will spend the next six months on loan in South America before moving to England in early 2023 (The Sun)

Aguilera, in this new-look Nottingham Forest XI, shares the creative duties with perhaps the most high-profile of the club’s new signings; Jesse Lingard. If the England international can recapture lightning in a bottle and emulate his dazzling West Ham form in Garibaldi red, then he could be the difference between a season of struggle and a Bielsa era Leeds United-style assault on the Premier League. 

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Lingard will revel in the freedom afforded to him by Lewis O’Brien and the aforementioned Mangala. Both players are aggressive, technical and boasting more energy than a whole truckload of Duracell batteries.  

A revamped defence

O’Brien’s former Huddersfield Town team-mate Harry Toffolo starts at left-wing back with Neco Williams on the other flank. The hope will be that Toffolo – who contributed six goals and eight assists from a supposed ‘defensive’ role during his final season in Yorkshire – will bring a long-overdue end to Forest’s left-back ‘curse’. 

The two-footed Williams can also fill in on the left if required. And that’s without mentioning Omar Richards, the former Reading youngster who returns to England after a brief spell at Bayern Munich no less.

Moussa Niakhate, another left-footer, rocks up following a stellar season at another Bundesliga club; FSV Mainz 05. Niakhate, a penalty-taking central defender, was the youngest captain in Germany’s top flight last term. Guilian Biancone, meanwhile, is equally comfortable out wide or in a more central role. The 22-year-old Frenchman arrived from Troyes for around £5 million. 

Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

New striker, new hope

If Nottingham Forest are to ensure their return to the big time is more than just a flying visit, however, they’ll need their £17 million record signing to make his mark at the other end of the pitch. Only five players scored more goals in the Bundesliga than Taiwo Awoniyi last term. And the identity of the forwards in question highlights the quality of company the former Liverpool youngster keeps; Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland, Patrik Schick, Christopher Nkunku and Anthony Modeste of Cologne. 

Awoniyi’s power, pace, impressive link-play and ice-cool finishing make him a potentially inspired addition to a Premier League squad; A forward with the guile of Lewis Grabban and the raw physicality of Keinan Davis. 

Hell, there’s even a place on the bench for Wayne Hennessey, the vastly-experienced back up goalkeeper brought in from Burnley to provide competition for Manchester United loanee Dean Henderson. Palmeiras playmaker Gustavo Scarpa will reportedly arrive in January too, when his contract expires.

Of course, for all those who praise the speed and the clarity of Nottingham Forest’s thinking, there will be those who fear a classic case ‘too much too soon’. A club making the same mistakes that cost Fulham dear during a dismal 2018/19. 

Only time will tell whether Forest fans can afford to view this season with excitement, or trepidation.  

Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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