Nottingham Forest have made 15 signings so far this summer and they are showing no signs of slowing down, with a number of players still linked with a move to the club before the transfer window closes in two weeks’ time.
Jesse Lingard, Remo Freuler, Emmanuel Dennis and Neco Williams are just a few of the players who have committed to Steve Cooper’s Premier League challenge with the Reds; and if reports are to be believed, there will be even more joining over the coming days and weeks.
One player who could make a late summer arrival to the City Ground is Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, who is currently in the second year of his loan deal with AC Milan in Serie A.
It was reported by Calciomercato (via Sport Witness) that Forest are in talks to sign the player, who turned 28 years old today, as he is no longer included in Stefano Pioli’s plans at the San Siro and his loan club are keen to offload him this summer.
Bakayoko has had a number of loan spells over his Chelsea career, playing for both Napoli and Monaco as well as AC Milan, but Cooper could finally give him a permanent home where he can thrive and enjoy plenty of first-team football.
Despite not earning a large amount of game-time last season, the box-to-box midfielder – who has been dubbed “world-class” by ESPN analyst Matteo Bonetti – still showed that he has what it takes to play much more regularly in the right setting.
Bakayoko ranked in the top 5% of positional peers in the top five European leagues for aerial duels and tackles in 2021/22, also ranking inside the top 10% for successful pressures and the top 20% for pass completion. This suggest that he is a player who doesn’t mind getting stuck in and is fearless in going into challenges.
Cooper could even land his very own Casemiro-esque dynamo if the powerbrokers at the City Ground can secure a move for the £93k-per-week midfielder, as the Real Madrid star was the third-most comparable player to Bakayoko over the last 12 months according to FBRef.
The two midfielders had some very similar attributes in their respective roles last term, including pass completion rate (88.5% v 86.4%) and dribble success (50% v 54.2%), and both were effective in receiving the ball in-play (95% v 95.3%).
The signing of the forgotten Chelsea man would be a massive coup for Forest, and the prospect of returning to the Premier League could be very tempting for the player after he failed to truly establish himself at Stamford Bridge.