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Nottingham Forest missed out on Houssem Aouar

Nottingham Forest made a whopping 21 signings over the summer transfer window, wasting no time or resources in building a squad that they believe would be fit to compete in the Premier League to help the promoted side retain their top-flight status by next summer.

Morgan Gibbs-White, Jesse Lingard, Dean Henderson, Neco Williams and Renan Lodi are just a few of the players who have joined the ambitious project at the City Ground, and Steve Cooper will be hoping that they have done enough in terms of quality to compete at the highest level.

Forest are currently 19th in the Premier League table following a disappointing defeat to Bournemouth at the weekend, when they went from 2-0 up at half-time to 3-2 down when the final whistle was blown. It was a second-half performance that the Reds manager will want to forget but must improve upon if they are to stand any chance of staying up this season.

Despite making numerous signings to bolster every position this summer, Forest did miss out on one target who could’ve been a game changer for the Reds this season, with Houssem Aouar coming extremely close to making the move to Nottingham.

The £62k-per-week Lyon star was a prime target for Forest but it was reported that the club pulled out of their pursuit after completing a £42.5m deal for Wolves gem Gibbs-White, and the decision to do so could be a move that Cooper and Evangelos Marinakis deeply regret this time next year.

Over the last 12 months, Aouar – who was dubbed a “special talent” by former journalist Andrew Gibney – ranked in the top 1% of his positional peers across the top five European leagues for pass completion and the top 20% for progressive passes, tackles and dribbles completed.

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Stan Collymore - Nottingham Forest

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The Frenchman also had Philippe Coutinho, Angel Di Maria and Riyad Mahrez named as three of the most comparable players to him according to FBref, whicg further suggests that he would have been a major coup for Forest.

Pass completion was something that Cooper detailed as one of the key areas that he wanted to strengthen after the team’s first outing in the Premier League against Newcastle United, when they lost 2-0.

Should Forest have signed Houssem Aouar?





Following that game, the 41-year-old said (via Nottinghamshire Live): “We were not right today in possession, and there were not enough passes when we could get them off, and that ultimately cost us the two goals.”

With that in mind, it is surprising that Forest opted out of signing the “unreal” Frenchman considering his passing range in the middle of the park; and it could be a decision which comes to back to bite them, especially after losing their last three league games and conceding 11 goals in the process.