With the announcements less than 24 hours apart, Harry Arter and Scott McKenna became the 10th and 11th Nottingham Forest signings this summer — two new additions that mark the intent at the City Ground this season.
Arter joined from Bournemouth, after spending the past decade at the south coast club. He spent last season on loan at Fulham, scoring the only goal in the game at the City Ground in July, as the West London side went on to beat Brentford in the Championship play-off final.
The 30-year-old Irish international will offer a wealth of experience in central midfield and will no doubt dovetail with Jack Colback at the heart of the team, operating behind Luke Freeman.
Centre-back McKenna arrives from Aberdeen for £3m, which could rise to £5m, a record fee for the Scottish Premiership side. The 23-year-old has made 16 appearances for the Scotland international side and, as a left-footed defender, will hopefully shore up a Forest defence that has conceded four goals in two games.
Following the arrival of Cyrus Christie on Friday, on loan from Fulham, there appears to be a clear strategy of bringing in solid Championship experience to a side that evidently suffered from injuries and exhaustion towards the end of last season.
Arter said: “I’ve been promoted twice, once with Bournemouth and once with Fulham, and they were two completely different experiences. At both clubs we had a group of determined players who knew what their end goal was and that’s what we need to have here. I feel like I can add that mentality to the squad because the older you get, the more you realise you have to try and influence people around you.
“The club and the manager have made it very clear they want me to bring that winning mentality into the dressing room and I like to think quality and experience are two things I can add to a talented group of players.”
Nikolas Ioannou, a left-back, is also rumoured to be arriving from APOEL in Cyprus, which will surely raise questions about who will leave the Reds before the transfer window closes on 5 October.
A costly squad, in excess of 30 senior players, will need to be trimmed by at least four or five, still leaving question marks about the future of several. Gaëtan Bong, Zach Clough and Michael Hefele remain without squad numbers, João Carvalho is reportedly training with the Under-23s, and Yohan Benalouane and Albert Adomah are likely to be surplus to requirements.
But moving on players is easier said than done. In the meantime, Sabri Lamouchi needs to decide on his first XI and work on incorporating the new signings into the squad.