Nottingham Forest are ready to submit a ‘significant bid’ to sign top Newcastle United target Merih Demiral, according to reports.
Steve Cooper is keen to bolster his backline before the transfer window slams shut at 11pm and has put the Atalanta centre-back at the top of his shortlist.
The 24-year-old would become the Tricky Trees’ 28th signing this season if they can get a deal over the line – a record that is unlikely to be broken for a long time.
This is according to Tutto Atalanta, who claim that Forest are preparing a bid of £23m plus bonuses for Demiral.
However, Newcastle previously registered an interest in the Turkey international last summer and have allegedly reignited their pursuit, while Italian giants Inter Milan are also considering a late move, so they will face big competition.
Interestingly, the report also adds that Forest may also try and sign another Atalanta player – striker Duvan Zapata – so there could be a double raid ahead of the transfer deadline.
Demiral has been a key player for Atalanta since joining the club on an initial loan deal from Juventus in the 2021/22 season, before joining permanently for £17.5m last summer.
Overall, in 59 appearances for the Nerrazzurri, the defender has scored three goals and has helped his team to keep 12 clean sheets.
He is strong, good on the ball and quick with a no nonsense style, so he would go down very well with Forest fans.
The centre-back has also made 35 appearances for Turkey already, so there is no doubting that he is very highly rated.
Demiral’s current deal with Atalanta is due to expire in 2026, so the Italian club are under no pressure to sell him. However, it has been suggested that Forest’s £26m bid may be enough to convince them.
From the player’s point of view, it’s clear to see the attraction of joining a club like Newcastle who are very much on the up and currently in third place in the league table.
Saying that, a move to Forest may suit in better in many ways, given he is much more likely to get more consistent minutes at the City Ground.
For the Magpies, the likes of Dan Burn, Sven Botman, Fabian Schar and Kieran Trippier have been superb for Eddie Howe this season.
Cooper, on the other hand, could certainly do with some defensive reinforcements after being unconvinced by the performances of Scott McKenna and Joe Worrel.
Indeed, Demiral would certainly be a big improvement on the Forest manager’s current options, especially considering they have conceded the the second-most goals in the Premier League this season.
This is a deal that could go down to the wire with Newcastle, Forest and Inter Milan all circling for his signature, so it’s one for fans of all three clubs to keep an eye on.
READ MORE: Nottingham Forest searching for a goalkeeper as Steve Cooper tries not to dwell on injuries