Nottingham Forest targeting Mainz 05 center-back Moussa Niakhaté

Nottingham Forest continues to plan for their return to the Premier League as they look to secure a potential deal for 1.FSV Mainz o5 center-back and captain Moussa Niakhaté.

As reported in L’Equipe, Forest is looking to add as much quality as possible in the run-up to their first season back in the top flight of English football since the 1998-99 campaign, and are looking to improve in key areas including center-back and are reportedly currently in discussions with the defender and his camp over a possible move to City Ground.

Forest is said to face stiff competition from both West Ham and Everton, however, as both the Hammers and Toffees also are in the hunt for defensive reinforcements this summer.

David Moyes’ men are looking to add a potential first-choice partner alongside Kurt Zouma, while Frank Lampard’s Everton is facing the prospect of losing Michael Keane and will look to replace him should he depart Goodison Park.

Steve Cooper will undoubtedly be pleased with the proactive nature that Forest has approached the current summer window, however, with Manchester United shot-stopper Dean Henderson all but set for a move to the club, and Liverpool youngster Nico Williams remaining on the radar screen as is unwanted Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

The club has missed out on a chance to bring Middlesbrough star Djed Spence back on a full deal after the England U21 star helped Forest secure their promotion back into the Premier League, with Tottenham well in the lead to secure his services.

But a player of the profile and experience of Niakhaté would serve as a bit of a transfer coup for Forest, with the former French youth international making a combined 135-appearances for Die Nullfünfer, averaging 32-appearances each season for the last four years after a standout season with FC Metz back in 2017-18.

Capable on set-pieces and exhibiting a balanced defensive profile supported by leadership qualities, Niakhaté could be a potential linchpin for Forest to avoid the drop in the upcoming Premier League campaign.

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