Nottingham Forest have fought off competition from Rangers and Bournemouth in the race to sign free agent Joe Rothwell, TEAMtalk are reporting.

Steve Cooper is a huge fan of the man who is leaving Blackburn following the expiration of his contract. He heaped praise on the player after Forest beat Rovers 2-0 in February.

Now, he’s set to join the Forest ranks ahead of next season. The Reds will embark on a first season in the Premier League for 23 years after winning promotion on Sunday.

Rothwell, 27, penned terms at Ewood Park in 2018. He left Oxford where he had caught the eye of Rovers boss Tony Mowbray when his team were playing against them in League One.

Forest win Rothwell race
(Photo; Rob Newell; CameraSport; Getty Images)

The former Manchester United trainee became something of a cult hero at the club. He made 161 appearances for the 1995 Premier League champions and the fans worshipped his work rate.

Rothwell loves a tackle and he’s also got a superb array of passing. Perhaps more crucially he’s capable of playing in a number of different roles through the middle of the pitch.

Bournemouth had looked to be holding the aces. They tried to sign him for a small fee back in January but with Blackburn fighting for promotion, they chose to keep him.

Likewise, Rangers thought they had won the race. The Teddy Bears were heavily linked with the versatile midfield player but Forest’s promotion looks to have won them the race.

Forest win the race to sign Rothwell and he could star at the City Ground

The Reds look to be moving quickly to strengthen their squad. Given that the play-offs saw their season extended by three weeks, that’s probably something that will please the supporters.

Behind the scenes, plans will be being put in place. If Forest can get Rothwell over the line it would represent a positive start to the window.

Forest win Rothwell race
(Photo; Richard Martin-Roberts; CameraSport; Getty Images)

Rothwell would strengthen the midfield ranks at a time when he’s in his prime. He’d also be a very useful option if Forest can’t secure a third loan deal for James Garner.

This looks like an exciting deal. On a free transfer, it looks like a no-brainer and beating off Boruemouth and Rangers is clearly a good sign.

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