According to journalist Pete O’Rourke, Nottingham Forest are “in talks” to sign Cheikhou Kouyate this summer.
O’Rourke took to Twitter to reveal the following news:
“Nottingham Forest are in talks to sign former Crystal Palace midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate on a free transfer.”
Steve Cooper will be delighted that the club are continuing to pursue transfer targets that can help to strengthen the team in their challenge to retain their Premier League status at the end of the season.
Following the first game of the season, Kouyate could be just what the Forest boss needs in the centre of the pitch, as Nottingham Forest paid a visit to St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon and struggled to stay in possession of the ball which ultimately cost them a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United.
Forest had a 70% pass completion rate over the clash with Eddie Howe’s side who completed 172 more accurate passes, as well as completing only 18 long balls out of the 57 attempted, something Cooper will need to improve if his side is going to stand a chance of controlling games better over the season ahead.
Last season for Crystal Palace, Kouyate was a solid performer who looked after the ball well in the defensive midfielder role in Patrick Vieira’s team, and could be a valuable asset to the Forest boss if he joins the club this summer.
Over 27 appearances, Kouyate who has been hailed a “top player” by Scott Dann, had a pass completion rate of 88%, made 1.9 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 1.2 clearances and completed 1.1 accurate long balls per game. That was as well as completing the majority of his duels (61%) and the large majority of his dribble attempts too (71%).
Therefore, the 6 foot 2 Senegalese midfielder could be the perfect partner in the centre of the pitch for Lewis O’Brien as the pair could comfortably help with protecting the defence from the centre of the pitch, with Kouyate bringing the Premier League experience and the height into the midfield to dominate opponents.
O’Brien, who has no trouble in making himself known when breaking down attackers, is 5 foot 6 with aerial duels his weakness last season losing a 58% majority compared to the 59% ground duels he won in the Championship.
Kouyate can add the missing piece to O’Brien’s talent, with the 32-year-old winning the majority of his aerial duels (53%) last season, so combining the pair could cover all the attributes needed to build the perfect defensive midfield duo in what would be a classic little and large scenario.
With that being said, the signing of Kouyate would be a great piece of business for Forest to add further depth in the team, as well as bringing some much-needed Premier League experience to improve their chances of competing with their opponents in the top flight.