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

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

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

Maupay, 25, missed his club’s Premier League game against Newcastle on Saturday as discussions progress over a £15million 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 looking for another striker and made their move for Maupay.

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

“We’ve signed a lot of players and will continue to do so,” Cooper said. “We are nowhere near finished in terms of the number of players coming in and going. The quicker you can get your squad together, before the transfer window closes, of course, the better. But this is the situation where we meet. We’re not looking at it as a negative, it’s part of the journey we’re on this season.”

Maupay, a former France Under-21 international, will add firepower to Cooper’s attack alongside 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, averaging almost one every two games at his previous club Brentford.

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

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

Dennis and Maupay would give Cooper additional options in attack as they look to survive after promotion from the Championship. Taiwo Awoniyi has also arrived from Union Berlin to add to the front line.

Elsewhere, 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 is not 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 the their first Premier League game at the City Ground since 1999.

“The only way to become a team is from your daily behaviors, staying consistent and sticking to the plan,” Cooper added. “That’s what we’re going to do, and we hope the plan is a good one.

“To be the team we want to be, it doesn’t have to be just one day, but how you live and breathe every day.”

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