January is traditionally a difficult month to complete transfers. Clubs fighting at the bottom of league tables are looking for improvements to avoid the drop; those around the top, meanwhile, are on the search for someone to help carry them across the line to promotion.
Steve Cooper has successfully managed to make five additions to his Nottingham Forest squad this month whilst also overseeing four departures too.
The Reds signed Richie Laryea, Keinan Davis and Steve Cook early on in the window before adding Sam Surridge and Jonathan Panzo on deadline day.
Going the other way the Reds negotiated an undisclosed fee for record signing Joao Carvalho’s move to Olympiacos, Rodrigo Ely was released from his contract and Lyle Taylor and Carl Jenkinson were dispatched on loan.
But how successful was Nottingham Forest’s transfer activity overall? Our Sports reporter Matt Lee evaluates whether it was a productive month for Cooper and his transfers team.
The addition of Steve Cook has been seen as somewhat of a coup for Nottingham Forest given he was ending a 10-year association with Bournemouth when he chose to sign for Cooper’s side.
At 30-years-old he continues to be a reliable central defender and has shown his ability since switching to the City Ground on January 4.
He adds another element to the Reds’ defensive line – especially given star man Joe Worrall is currently sidelined with broken ribs – and a mature, level-headed approach as Cooper’s side target the play-offs or more. (7/10)
Despite Laryea’s absence from the Nottingham Forest squad so far, this is arguably one of Cooper’s most exciting signings of January given he has all the hallmarks of a trademark Dane Murphy transfer.
Nottingham Forest’s chief executive has reiterated his data-led approach to recruitment as well as targeting youngsters over experienced signings.
He has only ever played in North America – Orlando City and Toronto – so moves to England with little experience of the British game, but seasoned followers of the full-back from overseas have raving reviews of the 27-year-old. (8/10)
Top of the shopping list for Cooper entering January will have been another striker and he achieved that by signing the old-school forward of Davis from Aston Villa on loan.
The Reds had Lewis Grabban and Lyle Taylor as their only senior options up-front heading into the window, but Taylor has fallen down the pecking order on Trentside and has struggled for game time recently.
Adding Davis has resolved some of the selection issues Cooper had faced and provided another dimension to Nottingham Forest’s attacking options.
It was seen by many Reds supporters as an underwhelming addition thanks to Villa fans’ mixed reviews.
However, his persistent running and hassling of defenders causes chaos and – with two goals from four Championship appearances so far – he could prove to be a surprising delight for Forest. (7/10)
Lyle Taylor’s loan departure to Birmingham City left the Reds with just Lewis Grabban and Keinan Davis as senior attacking options.
Throw in an injury blow to Lewis Grabban – he faces six weeks on the sidelines having left the 2-1 defeat to Cardiff City on Sunday wearing a protective boot – and the importance of adding another attacking option only grew as deadline day wore on.
Surridge, a thrice-capped England U21 international, seemed to be headed for a loan move from Stoke City to Cardiff City until Cooper hijacked the deal to bring him to the City Ground until June 2024.
It is highly possible that Cooper knows of Surridge from his time as a coach with England’s youth set-up, meaning the Forest head coach knows what is needed to get him firing on all cylinders.
He has scored only twice this season in 20 Championship appearances for the Potters, but Surridge could prove to be a key addition for the Reds as they aspire for promotion to the Premier League. (7/10)
This is another signing which screams the influence of Dane Murphy and is one which Forest fans should be very excited about.
At 21-years-old, the signing of Jonathan Panzo is one loaded with longevity as the Reds look to build their squad towards possible promotion this year but also maintain quality into the future.
Panzo – who can play as a central defender or left-back – has experience playing under Cooper having been part of England’s U17 World Cup winning side of 2017; he was also named in the Team of the Tournament as the Three Lions finished runners-up in the U17 European Championship under Cooper the same year.
He has plenty of pedigree having spent nine years developing as a youngster at Chelsea before moving to Monaco in July 2018.
His time on the continent has been a mixed one including a loan move to Belgian side Cercle Brugge before a permanent move to Ligue 2 side Dijon.
Panzo has perhaps struggled outside of England but, under Cooper’s coaching, this could turn out to be a very useful addition. (8/10)