Steve Cooper spoke out following the defeat in his post-match interview to detail where Forest got it wrong:
“We fell short in our performance today, but we live and learn. 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.”
The Garibaldi have had an exciting summer transfer window with 12 new signings secured at The City Ground, and six of those made their debuts for Forest on Saturday, but could there be an opportunity to strengthen the team even further?
One player who has been linked with a move to the newly-promoted club in the last few days is Atalanta midfielder Remo Freuler, a player who could certainly improve the problems with possession that Cooper referenced in his comments after the Newcastle game.
Over last season, the 30-year-old scored one goal, delivered three assists and created three big chances, tallying up a pass completion rate of 92% in his own half while taking 73.2 touches per game, proving he is certainly comfortably with the ball at his feet.
Freuler has been the recipient of high praise for his consistent and reliable performances in midfield for Atalanta, with Tuttosport journalist Giordano Signorelli hailing the £8.5m talent in an interview with BBC Sport:
“Gasperini likes players who listen and apply themselves, and Freuler is a true professional. He has become fundamental in midfield, alongside Marten de Roon. He has a great spirit of sacrifice, is strong physically, but also sound technically and possesses a good shot.”
Cooper could even land his very own N’Golo Kante by completing the signing of the Switzerland international this summer, as the Chelsea star is the fourth most comparable player to Freuler over the 365 days according to FBref.
In terms of similarities, the pair of midfielders came close on pass completion rate with Kante just tallying up a better percentage by 1.3% at 85.8 to 87.1.
The pair were also almost level pegging on their shot-creating actions with Freuler making 60 and Kante 61. The Atalanta star did, however, outperform the Frenchman in tackles won (43 vs 34). They did make exactly the same number of tackles (22) in the defensive third, demonstrating how similar they are when it comes to winning the ball back.
With that being said, the signing of Freuler would be a major addition for Nottingham Forest and could potentially resolve some of the issues Cooper is aware of in the team.
Indeed, signing a Kante-like midfielder would definitely bring a wealth of attributes to the side.