Nottingham Forest break transfer record to sign Taiwo Awoniyi

Nottingham Forest have broken the club’s transfer record to make striker Taiwo Awoniyi their first signing since being promoted to the Premier League.

Forest 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. They 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 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 said: “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 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. Liverpool will receive 10% of the fee paid by Forest due to a sell-on clause.

It is expected Awoniyi will be the first of many signings as Forest assemble a squad capable of staying in the Premier League.

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 and is now close to sealing his Forest exit, with Lens in talks to sign him.

They are in talks with German club Mainz over their captain Moussa Niakhaté after having an opening bid rejected for the centre-back, and maintain an interest in the Wolves winger Morgan Gibbs-White, who impressed on loan at Sheffield United last season.

Forest are also looking to recruit a right-back, with Liverpool’s Neco Williams and Manchester City’s Issa Kaboré the current leading candidates.