Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper has been cleared by ambitious owner Evangelos Marinakis to launch another vast summer transfer outlay – with six priority targets reportedly identified.
The Tricky Trees raised eyebrows last summer when, upon sealing promotion back to the Premier League, they brought in a staggering 23 new players. And while it took a while for Cooper to stumble across the correct formula, Forest eventually got it right and achieved their main aim of survival.
To aid their chances, they brought in another seven players in January to take their incomings to an incredible 30 for the season.
Now plans are well underway for their second campaign back among the elite.
And while a number of players will likely leave the City Ground this summer, Cooper has been told that significant funds will again be available.
Per The Athletic, Marinakis plans to offer Cooper, alongside newly-appointed chief football officer Ross Wilson, a kitty similar to that they spent last summner.
But rather than focus on quantity, the aim will very much be on quality this time around.
To kick things off, there is an optimism at Nottingham Forest that a deal for goalkeeper Dean Henderson will be struck.
Costing around £20m, the loan star will finalise a permanent deal worth around £90,000 a week from Manchester United.
They hope to follow up the signing of Henderson by making permanent another loan star in Renan Lodi. Forest have the option to sign the Brazilian in a €25m (£21.5m) deal, but would like to renegotiate that.
Following that double capture, Cooper and Wilson – who have already held several meetings on Zoom to discuss would-be targets – have drawn up some ambitious targets.
Forest target Tyler Adams, Conor Coady and Hudson-Odoi
Their next target, and perhaps the most ambitious, is Leeds United midfielder Tyler Adams.
The American joined the Whites in a £20m deal from RB Leipzig last summer, making a significant impact. Rated by many supporters as Leeds’ best player and their Player of the Year, Adams absence from March onwards contributed significantly to their downturn in results and subsequent relegation.
Now Leeds’ loss could be Forest’s gain. However, Leeds will want a vast profit on the 24-year-old. And with Newcastle, Aston Villa and Manchester United among those linked, Leeds are reportedly seeking as much as £40m for the New York-born star.
A number of Bundesliga sides are also reportedly keen on the midfielder many saw as Leeds’ captain in waiting.
Alongside the American, Cooper is also setting his sights on Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi. Still just 22, the winger has become something of a forgotten figure at Stamford Bridge.
Indeed, having spent the 2022/23 season on loan with Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea are willing to let him leave. With a year left on his deal, it may only take an offer of around £20m to convince the Blues to sell the three-times capped England forward.
Hudson-Odoi is a player Cooper knows well from his time coaching the England Under-17 side. In that regards, the transfer looks to tick plenty of boxes.
Per The Athletic, other players to keep an eye on are Southampton’s Che Adams and Wolves defender Conor Coady.
The two stars have plenty of Premier League experience between them. And Cooper seemingly believes that could prove useful ahead of what they hope will be an even more successful campaign.
Powerful forward Adams has been on Forest’s radar for the past two transfer windows. Now, following Southampton’s relegation, it’s a deal they could revisit againt.
Several stars to leave Forest
With a year left on his contract, Adams is reportedly available for around £8m, a fee well within their reach.
Coady, meanwhile, spent the season on loan with Everton though the Toffees will not be taking up an option to sign him permanently. Now 30, he will be allowed to leave parent club Wolves for a relatively-modest fee.
To clear the decks, Forest have already released players who were out of contract. Indeed, Jesse Lingard, Andre Ayew, Cafu, Jack Colback, Jordan Smith and Lyle Taylor have departed. Loan signing Keylor Navas has also returned to PSG.
But there are numerous other players Forest are ready to ship out.
Steve Cook, Harry Arter, Lewis O’Brien, Richie Laryea all look unlikely to play any part next season.
Hwang Ui-jo will also likely leave, with his fellow Olympiacos loanee Josh Bowler also departing the City Ground.
Question marks also hang over January signing Jonjo Shelvey, who was frozen out in the closing weeks of the season.
Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath also looks set to depart, joining Luton Town, whom he helped to promotion, after starring on loan.
Meanwhile, decisions are also pending on Mohamed Drager, Jonathan Panzo, Mbe Soh, Brandon Aguilera and Braian Ojeda. The quintet all spent the 2022/23 season out on loan.
Alex Mighten and Sam Surridge are also reportedly willing to move on.