Nottingham Forest made four new additions on transfer deadline day in a bid to rejuvenate their squad – and one came from a very familiar source.
Since Evangelos Marinakis purchased the club in 2017, there have been several player transactions both in and out of the City Ground with his other owned club – Greek giants Olympiakos.
That partnership has continued this summer as the latest man to swap Piraeus for the banks of the River Trent is Mohamed Drager.
The 25-year-old right-back played just eight times in the Greek Super League last season but he is set to be given a chance to impress at the Tricky Trees – despite Chris Hughton bringing in two other right-backs this summer in Djed Spence and Jordi Osei-Tutu.
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It would be easy to assume that it was Marinakis’ decision to send the 18-cap Tunisia international to Forest, however according to The Athletic, Drager was a data-driven signing from the Forest recruitment team.
Per Paul Taylor, Drager was ‘carefully analysed’ and the hierarchy believed that the Tunisian represented an upgrade on homegrown talent Jordan Gabriel, who was sold to Blackpool on deadline day.
Forest’s head of analytics – George Syrianos – may have come across Drager whilst he played for Freiburg in Germany, with Syrianos previously working for Stuttgart, but unlike perhaps other deals this one seems to be led by the club’s transfer team and not the ownership.
It makes little sense though to bring three right-backs to the club though in one window – especially when two of them are on loan.
There’s been many deals between Olympiakos and Forest in the past four years and a lot just haven’t worked out – names like Andreas Bouchalakis, Karim Ansarifard and Panagiotis Tachtsidis spring to mind.
The club will be hoping that this one is a bit different though – Drager is of a good age and has international experience so he could be a good fit for Hughton.