Predicted finish: 20th
Nottingham Forest make their long-awaited return to the Premier League after a 23-year absence and the ultimate aim for Steve Cooper’s side will be survival.
Forest secured a 1-0 Championship playoff final victory over Huddersfield to confirm the final promotion place and seal their return amongst England’s elite.
It must be noted, many members of the squad who helped Forest return to the Premier League have departed. It has therefore been a busy summer for owner Evangelos Marinakis, who has thus far sanctioned 11 signings with Jesse Lingard, Dean Henderson, Neco Williams and Taiwo Awoniyi catching the eye in particular.
One key area of strength for the Tricky Trees is their manager, Steve Cooper, who replaced Chris Hughton when the side had managed just one point in their opening seven games. Few would have envisaged a run to the play-off final following such a poor start, and credit must be given to the man who transformed Forest’s fortunes.
Nottingham Forest are a team familiar to many fans across the globe despite their long absence from the top-flight. The ‘miracle men’ famously won back-to-back European cups in 1979 and 1980, etching their names into footballing history under the guidance of Brian Clough.
Owner Evangelos Marinakis told talkSPORT “be ready for trophies” when quizzed about the next steps for Forest and the Greek shipping magnate is clearly hoping the club can write a new storied chapter in the history books. This may be a tad ambitious in the short term due to the sheer step up in quality.
In reality, a side with this many new signings must be allowed some time to gel. The shift from Championship football will be tangible and Cooper needs to quickly establish his side’s identity. Do they stick with what brought success in the Championship? Or do they twist, and adopt a more cautious approach to grind out results?
One thing is for certain, the eyes of many a neutral will be cast on Forest throughout the season and few Reds fans would begrudge a 17th placed finish.
One to watch: Taiwo Awoniyi
Whilst there has been fan furor over the arrival of Jesse Lingard, one player who has been pulling up trees in Germany is former Union Berlin man Taiwo Awoniyi.
Forest broke their transfer record for their first arrival of the summer after the Nigerian international scored an impressive 15 Bundesliga goals, helping Union to a fifth placed finish and European football.
Awoniyi has traded life in Berlin for Nottingham despite interest from several clubs and Steve Cooper will be hoping the striker can quickly adapt to life in the Premier League.
First five fixtures: Newcastle, West Ham, Everton, Tottenham, Man City
Taiwo Awoniyi (£17.5m, Union Berlin)
Dean Henderson (loan, Manchester United)
Giulian Biancone (£9m, Troyes)
Moussa Niakhate (undisclosed, Mainz 05)
Omar Richards (£7.7m, Bayern Munich)
Neco Williams (£17m, Liverpool)
Wayne Hennessey (free, Burnley)
Brandon Aguilera (undisclosed, LD Alajuelense)
Lewis O'Brien, Harry Toffolo (£10m, Huddersfield Town)
Jesse Lingard (free, Manchester United)
Orel Mangala (undisclosed, Stuttgart)
Tobias Figueiredo (free, Hull City)
Gaetan Bong (released)
Carl Jenkinson (released)
Mohamed Drager (loan, Luzern)
Jayden Richardson (undisclosed, Aberdeen)
Ethan Horvath (loan, Luton Town)
Brice Samba (£4.5m, Lens)
Tyrese Fornah (loan, Reading)
Lewis Grabban (released)
Will Swan (loan, Mansfield)
Jonathan Panzo (loan, Coventry City)
Fin Back (loan, Carlisle United)
Riley Harbottle (loan, Mansfield)
Brandon Aguilera (loan, Guanacasteca)
Nicholas Ioannou (undisclosed, Como)
Xande Silva (undisclosed, Dijon)
Braian Ojeda (loan, Real Salt Lake)
Nottingham Forest total spent to date: £53.5m
Nottingham Forest total received to date: £4.5m
Nottingham Forest net transfer balance: -£49m
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