Nottingham Forest smash 17-year Portsmouth record after Cooper’s borderline ridiculous transfer business

Harry Watkinson
Steve Cooper pumps the air with his fist

Nottingham Forest have broken the record for having the most debutants in a single Premier League season, after signing 30 new players.

A total of 22 players have made their league debuts under Steve Cooper so far, including 17 summer signings and five winter arrivals.

This has broken Portsmouth’s 17-year record of 21 debuts in a single campaign, which happened back in 2006.

Forest went past that mark on Sunday, following a first start for former Real Madrid and PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas, along with a late cameo for new signing Andre Ayew.

Portsmouth handed out 21 debuts in the 2005/06 season. Alan Perrin was the manager at the beginning of the campaign before he was sacked as Pompey plummeted into the bottom three.

He was later replaced with Harry Redknapp, who had left for rivals Southampton only a year earlier and he ultimately helped them to secure their safety.

Perrin awarded 12 players their league debuts prior to his departure before Redknapp named nine further debutants after a busy January window.

In comparison, Forest signed a record-breaking 21 players at the start of the season as Cooper looked to overhaul his squad to help deal with the challenges of the Premier League.

He then added nine more names to the list of incomings in January, bringing in the likes of Brazilian midfielder Danilo (£20m), former Atletico Madrid defender Felipe (£2m) and experienced Premier League player Jonjo Shelvey (free transfer).

Cooper then made one more signing after the closure of the window in free agent Ayew, who has had successful spells at West Ham United and Swansea City in the past.

The question is – have these new signings made it more or less likely that Forest will stay up this season?

Cooper came under fire at the beginning of the campaign as the Tricky Trees struggled to pick up points, after practically dismantling the team that got them promoted from the Championship.

However, the players have now had more time to gel and they have picked up some important results recently.

In fact, Forest are currently unbeaten since the start of 2023, picking up vital wins against fellow relegation contenders Southampton, Leicester City and Leeds, and drawing against Chelsea and Bournemouth.

But, Cooper’s side are still only six points away from the drop zone, so if they have another poor run of form, they could easily get dragged back into trouble.

Forest’s next four matches have the potential to define their season, coming up against in-form Fulham, reigning champions Manchester City and fellow relegation contenders West Ham United and Everton.

You would think that if Cooper and co can pick up three wins from those matches it would almost guarantee survival, but as it stands, they could still end up back in the Championship.

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