Nottingham Forest January transfer window round-up
General view inside the City Ground ahead of kick-off of the during the FA Cup Third Round match between Nottingham Forest and Arsenal at the City Ground, Nottingham on Sunday 9th January 2022. (Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Steve Cooper joined Nottingham Forest back in late September, subsequently giving the Welshman no time to make changes to his inherited squad. 

Ahead of his first transfer window, the prospect of working alongside American CEO Dane Murphy was always going to be exciting, given his track record of signing young, talented players rather than the usual cluster of over 30s collecting their last paycheck.

To avoid a repeat of the 2019/20 season, January was always going to be an important month. In total, the Reds made five signings whilst letting another six depart to ensure the best possible chance for Cooper to push for a top-six finish throughout the second half of the season.  

Incomings:

Keinan Davis

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Forest wasted no time in bolstering their ranks with the addition of striker Keinan Davis on loan from Aston Villa, just hours after the opening of the window. 

After struggling with injuries throughout the last year with the Villans, Davis was thrown straight into the deep end by making his debut in the 1-0 victory over Premier League Arsenal in the FA Cup third round. The target man impressed and gave the Gunners backline no end of problems before being replaced by match-winner Lewis Grabban. 

Since then, the high-quality performances have continued from the 23-year-old, with his pace, power and hold up play adding a different dimension to the Forest front line. He has bagged two goals in his five appearances in the Garibaldi red, with his most recent coming in the  2-1 defeat away at Cardiff City last weekend. 

Davis certainly wasn't the fans' first-choice striker to come in this January. His record of three goals in 73 appearances at Villa already cast doubt in the minds of many fans, however, he has certainly made his mark on the side and proved to be a handy addition in the bid to get promotion to the top flight for the first time since 1999. 

Steve Cook

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Like Davis, Steve Cook joined very early on in the window, something which he said is a huge benefit when joining a new side. 

Speaking to ForestTV, the experienced centre-half said:

"I thought it was the perfect time in my career to make this move and it's nice to get it done so early so I can meet the lads and get bedded in and hit the ground running."

He also made his debut against Arsenal, keeping out the likes of Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette on the way to a victory with a clean sheet in the bag. 

Cook left Bournemouth after over a decade on the South Coast and since he arrived in the East Midlands the 30-year-old has been regular starting every game including the 2-1 victory in the East Midlands Derby against Derby County.

His experience and leadership qualities provide needed balance in what is now a relatively young Forest side, which could produce the perfect recipe for a top-six finish at the end of the campaign. 

Richie Laryea

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After joining from MLS side Toronto FC for a fee in the region of £750k, Richie Laryea is yet to play a game for Steve Cooper’s side.  

The Canadian signed a three-and-a-half-year deal on Trentside and admitted it was "a dream come true" to play in Europe after his rapid rise to the top of American football. 

The 27-year-old is a versatile option for Cooper, being able to play right-back, left-back or even higher up the pitch in wide areas, a position Forest eventually failed to strengthen despite interest in multiple wingers throughout the window. 

Laryea provided the assist for the opening goal, in Canada's World Cup qualifying victory against the USA just a few days ago, and will be looking to make his debut for the Reds against Blackburn Rovers on February 12 upon his return from international duty. 

Sam Surridge 

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The first of the two Deadline Day signings was Sam Surridge, signing for £2 million from fellow Championship side Stoke City on a two-and-a-half-year deal. 

Forest needed to act quickly after the worrying injury to top goalscorer Lewis Grabban who hobbled off in the defeat to Cardiff. 

Cooper immediately turned to Surridge who he managed previously during his time at Swansea City, where the six-foot-three centre forward scored on seven occasions in 27 appearances. 

The move to the City Ground comes after the 23-year-old fell down the pecking order at the Bet365 Stadium, and admitted he "couldn't turn an opportunity like this down." He looks set to make his debut against Leicester City in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday afternoon. 

Jonathan Panzo

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The final signing of the January transfer window for Forest was Jonathan Panzo from Dijon for a fee in the region of £1.5 million on a deal until 2025. 

Fellow new signing Steve Cook looks set to join Joe Worrall on the injury list after also limping off against Cardiff, leaving Scott McKenna and Tobias Figueiredo as the two only fully fit first-team centre-halves.   

This prompted the arrival of 21-year-old Panzo, who like Surridge is no stranger to working under Cooper after winning the Under 17 World Cup with the Welshman back in 2017.

Panzo is a product of the famous Chelsea academy in Cobham and will provide balance in the backline, joining McKenna as another left-footed ball-playing centre-back fitting in with the Forest boss' philosophy of playing out from the back. 

Just like his fellow Deadline Day signing, Panzo could potentially make his debut this weekend against the Foxes in the FA Cup. 

Outgoings

Tyrese Fornah

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The 22-year-old joined League One side Shrewsbury Town on loan for the rest of the season just a couple of days before the end of the window. 

Tyrese Fornah impressed throughout pre-season under former boss Chris Hughton and even started in the Carabao Cup games against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bradford City back in August, but has failed to make a mark on the first-team picture since then. 

However, Fornah signed a new deal back in December, which will see him stay on Trentside until the end of the 2023/2024 season. 

A loan move for the former Brighton and Hove Albion man is perfect for his development, as it allows him to get minutes under his belt before pushing for a consistent first-team place next season. 

Carl Jenkinson 

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A player who certainly won't be returning to the City Ground is Carl Jenkinson. The one time former England international joined the club for £2 million from Arsenal back in 2019 but spent most of his first season as a backup to academy graduate Matty Cash

The 29-year-old has joined Melbourne City on loan, with the Australian side paying a large chunk of his £30k a week wages. The right-back scored on his Melbourne debut in their 3-1 win over Central Coast Mariners just last week and will hope to maintain his decent performances in a bid to earn a permanent deal with the A-League side. 

Jenkinson's contract at Forest expires in the summer and it is expected that he will be moved on after not featuring in the matchday squad at all this season before his loan move. 

Joao Carvalho 

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The most high profile departure from the club this window was that of club-record signing Joao Carvalho

The former Portuguese Under 21 international joined the club from Benfica back in 2018 for a reported £13.5 million. He hit the ground running in the Championship, with his quick feet and flair dazzling many of the best defenders in the division. 

However, as time went on he just couldn't maintain his high levels of performance and was subsequently loaned out to Almeria for the 2020/21 season before being sold this January to Olympiacos for an undisclosed fee. 

The now 24-year-old will be hoping for a fresh start in Greece. A talented player, no doubt, but just not built for a physical league such as the second tier of English football. 

Rodrigo Ely

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The final signing of the Hughton era was Rodrigo Ely on a free transfer from Spanish side Alaves. 

The 28-year-old was brought into the club to provide competition for the likes of Worrall, McKenna, Figueiredo however, his time in Nottingham was hampered by injury. He returned to training a couple of weeks back but failed to make a single first-team appearance at the club during his five-month stint on Trentside. 

He was subsequently released on Deadline Day, with the Brazilian releasing a statement confirming he left the club because "training with my teammates is not enough" and that "I have youth, health and ambition" suggesting he is looking for more first-team opportunities elsewhere. 

Jordi Osei-Tutu

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A man who also suffered from constant injuries at Forest was Jordi Osei-Tutu. The rapid right-back joined on a season-long loan from Arsenal but only managed to make five league appearances after struggling with ankle and hamstring problems. 

In his brief spells on the pitch, the 23-year-old impressed but unfortunately, his injuries put an abrupt stop to his progress at the club. 

Forest decided to terminate his loan on January 6, to free up a loan space in the squad, with Osei-Tutu securing himself a loan move on Deadline Day to League One promotion chasers Rotherham United until the end of the season.

Lyle Taylor 

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Lyle Taylor has found starts hard to come by this season, such the impressive form of Lewis Grabban who has bagged 13 league goals. Taylor secured a loan move to fellow Championship side Birmingham City, paving the way for Sam Surridge to join the club on Deadline Day.

The 31-year-old Monserrat international joined the club on a free transfer from Charlton Athletic back in 2020 but is yet to find the goalscoring form that earned him his move to the City Ground.

The highlight of his time at Forest was his brace in stoppage time at Bristol City which secured a crucial win in the early days of Steve Cooper's reign, a night that will live long in the memory of all Forest fans. 

His first appearance for the Blues was against Derby County at Pride Park, and he scored his first goal of his loan spell in their 2-2 draw against their relegation rivals. 

Taylor is a hard worker and will always give his all for the badge, but he has just been lacking that quality during his time at the club. Hopefully, this loan spell will allow him to regain that goalscoring touch he had during his time at the Addicks. 

Best Business?

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Without doubt, Nottingham Forest's best business was keeping hold of Brennan Johnson, Joe Worrall and Djed Spence.

Johnson has been subject to multiple bids from Brentford, with the most recent tallying up to £20 million. However, unlike recent years the board stood firm and rejected the bid keeping the Welshman at the club until the summer at the very least. 

The 20-year-old has scored seven times this season, whilst laying on another five goals for his teammates. It is no secret he will be the subject of more bids in the summer, but for the remainder of the season, he will be crucial to the Reds promotion push. 

Joe Worrall is another player destined for the Premier League whether that be with or without Forest. 

In recent times he's had interest from the likes of Southampton, West Ham and Brentford but for now, he remains a Reds player after the closure of the window.

As of late, he's formed a great partnership with McKenna and Cook in the Forest backline, and that trio looks set to be the main three that could lead Cooper's men to the Championship top six for the first time since 2011. 

Despite not being a permanent Nottingham Forest player, Djed Spence staying at the club is a massive boost for the remainder of the campaign. 

The 21-year-old joined on a season-long loan from Middlesborough back in the summer, and his consistent quality performances have led to major interest from some of the biggest clubs in Europe. 

Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United and Inter Milan have all been linked with the right-back, but Boro boss Chris Wilder confirmed that he will remain a Forest player until the end of the season. 

Verdict?

Overall, Nottingham Forest have had a successful transfer window. The early business allowed for new signings to hit the ground running, whilst also allowing for some of the higher earners and out of favour players to leave the club, paving the way for the new additions. 

The Reds tried desperately to sign another winger. Throughout the course of the window, they had multiple bids rejected for Millwall's Jed Wallace and Blackpool's Josh Bowler. At one stage it looked likely that both players would join the club on a permanent basis, however, Steve Cooper's men were priced out of both deals and unable to get their primary targets. 

Despite this, the first-team squad is stronger than when the window opened, and the board have backed the manager to push on in the second half of the season to make the playoffs despite the clubs worst start to a season in 108 years. 

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