Nottingham Forest have signed Serge Aurier – and that means reuniting with international teammate Willy Boly in a familiar strategy.
Forest were linked with Aurier back in August with experienced competition needed for summer signing Neco Williams.
Aurier, a free agent after leaving Villarreal at the need of last season, didn’t need to be signed before last week’s deadline.
Forest therefore struck a deal to sign Aurier on Wednesday night, announcing his arrival with no contract length disclosed.
Aurier will find a familiar face at the City Ground – and that’s something that seems to have been a policy throughout Forest’s transfer spree.
Forest have also signed Willy Boly, who is an Ivory Coast international teammate of Aurier.
The pair have turned out 12 times together for their country, losing just twice in that period.
The hope will be that Boly and Aurier knowing each other can help them feel comfortable at Forest – and this is something we have seen a lot of this summer.
Let’s look at Forest’s transfer business and even just stick with Boly for now, who is familiar with Morgan Gibbs-White from their time together at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
What about Jesse Lingard? Well, he arrived on a free transfer from Manchester United and has been joined at Forest by former Old Trafford teammate Dean Henderson.
Taiwo Awoniyi arrived from Union Berlin, and he already knows fellow new signings Moussa Niakhate, Emmanuel Dennis and Neco Williams.
Awoniyi and Niakhate played together at Mainz, Dennis and Awoniyi have been friends for more than a decade and play for Nigeria together whilst Williams and Awoniyi were both on the books at Liverpool.
Williams himself met up with a familiar face when joining Forest having featured in the Welsh national team setup alongside Brennan Johnson.
Cheikhou Kouyate and backup goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey were together at Crystal Palace whilst Harry Toffolo and Lewis O’Brien joined together from Huddersfield Town after shining in West Yorkshire.
The hope will be that these existing relationships can help Forest, as signing 20-odd strangers and chucking them into a team isn’t ideal.
Bedding in this many new signings was always going to be a task anyway, but putting together some familiar faces could help that situation.
For there to be so many of those links makes it feel like Forest have intentionally gone down this route of linking new signings up with players they already know, with Aurier just the latest.