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Why Nottingham Forest had no choice but to roll £100m transfer dice

From the moment that the final whistle blew in the Championship play-off final on May 29th, Nottingham Forest knew that things were never going to be the same again. The club famously won two European Cups under Brian Clough and were founder members of the Premier League, but the football world has changed considerably since they last graced the top flight of English football.

After 23 long years spent toiling in the Football League, with a few of those seeing them slip as far as League One, the Reds are finally rubbing shoulders with the elite once more. Returning to that stage has proved to be an arduous task, but staying there will be even trickier.

Tough task

Nobody at the City Ground is under any illusions as to how tough that challenge is going to be, with favour in English Premier League betting tips set to prove hard come to by as foundations are put in place on which to build future success.

Steering a course to safety will remain the only priority of note on the banks of the River Trent, but long-term targets are being set much higher than that. Forest are aware of the need to avoid trying to run before they can walk, but merely getting on their feet is no simple manoeuvre.

Questions have been asked about the methods deployed in a bid to ensure that some kind of stability is established as soon as possible within Steve Cooper’s ranks, with a promotion-winning windfall being put to good use in the summer transfer market.

Forest has done business with Liverpool, Manchester United and Bayern Munich in the current window, with recruitment records being broken, while the acquisition of England international Jesse Lingard raised plenty of eyebrows.

For some, the Reds have been going about things all wrong. To the doubters, too much change has been overseen too soon. Detractors would have you believe that Cooper and his board have taken the art of speculating to accumulate too far after completing more than a dozen deals.

Said argument misses the point, though, by quite some distance. Forest’s business has been a case of needs must. In an ideal world, they would have taken a step up boasting a squad loaded with Premier League performers that were ready to hit the ground running.

That simply was not the case, and it is that which explains why the arrivals lounge has been seeing so much footfall. Cooper has not been spending for the sake of it, with a £100 million pot of gold burning a hole in his pocket, he has been investing because there was no other option.

Time for change

Of the 18 players that made up Forest’s matchday squad at Wembley back in May, nine are no longer with the club in some capacity – be that returning to parent employers, being sent out on loan or released. Other backup options have also departed, meaning that some serious holes in Cooper’s squad needed to be plugged.

At a Premier League level, that rebuild was never going to come cheap. Forest may find themselves locked in a relegation dogfight this season, they may surprise a few and cement themselves with style, but whatever happens from this point it is wrong to use transfer business as a stick to poke them with.

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Article title: Why Nottingham Forest had no choice but to roll £100m transfer dice

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