Exclusive: Nottingham Forest in talks to sign Brighton striker Neal Maupay

·3 min read
Exclusive: Nottingham Forest in talks to sign Brighton striker Neal Maupay - AP
Exclusive: Nottingham Forest in talks to sign Brighton striker Neal Maupay - AP

Brighton striker Neal Maupay is in talks over a move to Nottingham Forest which could take the newly-promoted club’s summer spending to £125 million.

Maupay, 25, missed his club’s Premier League fixture against Newcastle on Saturday as discussions progress over a £15m move to the City Ground after three seasons at the Amex Stadium.

Forest added three more signings to Steve Cooper’s squad last week in Emmanuel Dennis, Cheikhou Kouyaté and Remo Freuler but were still in the market for a further striker and made their move for Maupay.

Cooper still wants a left-back and winger before the transfer window closes at the end of the month. After losing players from his promotion-winning squad, the Forest manager has drafted in a raft of players including Jesse Lingard on a free transfer.

"We have signed a lot of players and will continue to do that," Cooper said. "We're nowhere near finished in terms of players coming in and going. The quicker you can get your group together, before the transfer window shuts, the better, of course. But this is the situation we're in. We're not looking at it as a negative, it's part of the journey that we're on this season."

Maupay, a former France Under-21 international, will add firepower to Cooper’s attack along with Dennis, who has completed a medical after a £15m fee was agreed with Watford for the Nigeria striker. He scored 26 Premier League goals in his last three seasons, having averaged almost one every two games at his previous club, Brentford.

Kouyaté is a free agent after leaving Crystal Palace in the summer, adding Premier League experience, while Switzerland international Freuler is an £8m arrival from Italian club Atalanta.

Forest started last weekend with a defeat against Newcastle when they played with youngster Brennan Johnson, who can play wide, and Sam Surridge up front but failed to trouble the home defence.

Dennis and Maupay would give Cooper extra options in attack as they look to survive following promotion from the Championship. Taiwo Awoniyi has also arrived from Union Berlin to add to the frontline.

In other positions, midfielder Lewis O'Brien and full-back Harry Toffolo have arrived from Huddersfield, while Moussa Niakhaté, Orel Mangala and Omar Richards were recruited from the Bundesliga. Neco Williams arrived from Liverpool and started last week at right-back.

Forest's spending spree is not quite unprecedented for a newly-promoted club – Aston Villa spent £144m in 2019 – but the task of gelling so many new faces is a major challenge for Cooper, as he prepares Forest for their first Premier League game at the City Ground since 1999.

"The only way you can become a team is from your daily behaviours, staying consistent and sticking to the plan," Cooper added. "That's what we're going to do, and hopefully the plan is a good one.

"To be the team we want to be it's got to be not just matchday, it's how you live and breathe every day."