Nottingham Forest have broken the club’s transfer record to make the striker Taiwo Awoniyi their first signing since being promoted to the Premier League.
The top-flight newcomers have paid Union Berlin £17m for the Nigeria international, who has signed a five-year deal at the City Ground after passing a medical on Thursday. Forest beat off stiff competition from a number of clubs in England and Germany for the striker, who scored 15 goals in the Bundesliga last season.
The Forest manager, Steve Cooper, met the former Liverpool forward in Athens recently to discuss how he saw Awoniyi fitting into his team for their first Premier League campaign in 23 years.
“I’m very excited to be here at Nottingham Forest,” Awoniyi said. “It’s always been my dream to play in the Premier League and having spoken to Steve Cooper about our ambitions and looking at Forest, with its great history, it’s a club that I want to be part of.”
Cooper added: “There’s been a lot of interest in Taiwo from other Premier League clubs, and other clubs across Europe, so we’re delighted that he’s chosen Nottingham Forest. Our recruitment and coaching teams have been monitoring his progress closely over the last few months. He’s a player who we really believe in and we look forward to him going on to fulfil his potential and become a top Premier League striker with Nottingham Forest.”
Awoniyi had a six-year spell with Liverpool, which was spent out on loan at various clubs, before making the permanent move to Germany last summer. The Premier League runners-up will receive 10% of the fee paid by Forest due to a sell-on clause.
It is expected that Awoniyi will be the first of many signings this summer as the Forest owners back the club’s recruitment team to assemble squad capable of staying in the Premier League. The Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson will arrive on loan for the season. The club made Henderson their No 1 goalkeeping target for the summer after Brice Samba rejected a new contract. The Congolese is now close to sealing his Forest exit, with Lens in talks to sign him.
Forest are in talks with Mainz over the German club’s captain, Moussa Niakhaté, after seeing an opening bid rejected for the centre-back. There is optimism at Forest that a deal will still be done for the former France Under-21 international.
They maintain an interest in the Wolves winger Morgan Gibbs-White, who impressed on loan at Sheffield United last season, but expect to be rivalled by numerous Premier League clubs for his signature. Forest are also looking to recruit a right-back, with Liverpool’s Neco Williams and Manchester City’s Issa Kaboré the leading candidates.