Nottingham Forest's XI with 4 more signings, ft Freuler and £20m Dennis

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On Thursday night, Nottingham Forest reached an agreement with Serie A outfit Atalanta to make Remo Freuler their 14th new arrival since securing their long-awaited return to the Premier League in May (The Guardian). 

Signings 15 and 16, it seems, will not be far behind either.  

According to The Athletic, Nottingham Forest are on the verge of confirming Emmanuel Dennis too. The tricky Watford forward – a bright spark in a dismal season for the Hornets – will replace Taiwo Awoniyi as Forest’s record signing, joining for a cool £20 million. 

A further £3.5 million, meanwhile, could be invested in Bordeaux’s Hwang Ui Jo. A cut-price bid has been accepted by the cash-strapped Girondins, according to L’Equipe. After missing out on Andrea Pinamonti to Sassuolo, Hwang – who, like Dennis, produced an impressive tally of goals for a relegated club in 2021/22 – will arrive instead to provide competition for Awoniyi at the City Ground. 

Three more faces at Nottingham Forest?

The question is, how do these three new faces click into a new-look Nottingham Forest XI? 

Well, it’s easy to see where Hwang fits in. A hard-working number nine and a ruthless finisher in and around the penalty area, he is almost certain to be utilised in a centre forward role by Steve Cooper. Freuler’s place, however, is a little more difficult to ascertain. 

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The highly-experienced, highly-intelligent Switzerland international was the glue that held Gian Piero Gasperini’s free-flowing Atalanta side together. The conductor of Italian football’s most exhilarating rock opera. But 30-year-old Freuler also thrived, at times, as a right-footed left-wing back. Either way, he looks perfectly suited to Cooper’s 3-5-2 formation; Whether playing out wide or in the middle of the park. 

“Freuler had this opportunity, (and) it materialised in a short time,” Atalanta coach Gian Pieri Gasperini says at his Friday press conference.

“Now he went to the Premier League. Clearly, he’s a player I’m very fond of. If he’s happy with (his Forest switch), I thank him for what he did in the Atalanta shirt and wish him the best.” 

Versatility the key word at the City Ground

Emmanuel Dennis is another player equally comfortable in two positions. He scored 10 goals and set up six more in Watford colours, splitting his time between a centre-forward role and one that saw him cut in to sometimes devastating effect off the left.

Given that Cooper does not tend to play with inverted wingers at Forest – his wing-backs providing much of the width – Dennis may have to play in a slightly role to the one he occupied at Vicarage Road. 

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Either way, a versatile attacker with a proven track record in the Premier League could come in very handy; Providing serious competition for marquee signing Jesse Lingard and last term’s star man Brennan Johnson. Anderlecht’s Francis Amuzu and Nantes’ Moses Simon also options.

Yet another left-wing back?

While Freuler canplay in on the flank – ditto Jack Colback, Harry Toffolo and the currently-injured Omar Richards – Nottingham Forest are pushing hard for another left-sided player before the window closes on September 1st. 

Alex Moreno rebuffed Forest’s advances in favour of staying at Real Betis in La Liga. Talks are underway with Villarreal’s Pervis Estupinan now, according to FootMercato. The Daily Mail, meanwhile, claims that Chelsea’s £18 million forgotten man Emerson Palmieri is another name on Nottingham Forest’s lengthy wishlist. 

The Italy international is not the most swashbuckling of wide players, however; At least in comparison to the buccaneering Moreno. In 71 Premier League games at Chelsea, he has just two goals and five assists.

Then again, his vast experience at the top level could still come in useful. Especially given that neither Toffolo or Richards have played in England’s first division before, and could take some time getting used to the speed and intensity of the league.  

Six players made their Premier League bow for Nottingham Forest in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United. By the time September arrives, the number of debutants at the City Ground could rise exponentially.  

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