Odysseus Vlachodimos: Nottingham Forest’s new goalkeeper will achieve the Premier League dream after Benfica’s exit | football news


By the standards of the summer of 2022, Nottingham Forest were remarkably restricted during the recent transfer window.

After impressively keeping Forest in the Premier League with an impressive 30 new signings last season, Steve Cooper has overseen the arrival of just three players ahead of the start of the 2023/24 season.

But once the season started, Forest – led by their enigmatic owner Evangelos Marinakis – couldn’t help themselves. The checkbook is back.

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Three new signings arrived between the start of the season and the deadline, but Forest are not finished yet.

The East Midlanders dominated the headlines in the final 24 hours of the transfer window with the signings of seven players, with the £30m signing of Ibrahim Sangari from PSV Eindhoven being the most notable.

Once the dust had settled, Marinakis wrote an open letter to Forest fans in which he declared: “Our vision for the club is clear and consistent. We are on our way to re-establishing Nottingham Forest as a dominant force in English football.”

This flurry of activity – combined with bullish owner claims – helped explain why there was no interest in signing goalkeeper Odyssias Vlachodimos from Benfica for £7.7m.

But a closer examination of the 29-year-old’s career suggests that in a window in which Chelsea paid £25m for Robert Sanchez and Arsenal agreed a future fee of £27m for David Raya, Forest may have pulled off a coup.

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Free watch: Highlights of Nottingham Forest’s win over Chelsea in the English Premier League before the international break

Until the final weeks of the transfer window, Vlachodimos’ position as a key member of Benfica’s starting lineup looked secure.

The Greece international joined the Portuguese club from Panathinaikos in 2018 and immediately established himself as the No. 1 player, making 225 appearances and helping Benfica win the Portuguese title in 2019 and 2023.

Vlachodimos also played every minute of the Lisbon club’s run to the Champions League quarter-finals in the last two seasons, including victories over Barcelona, ​​Ajax and Juventus.

The goalkeeper can also boast silverware at international level, having been part of the Germany squad that won the European Under-21 Championship in 2017 before switching allegiance to Greece.

Having signed a new contract with Benfica in March, Vlachodimos looked set to continue his progress at the Estadio da Luz.

But that progress came to an abrupt halt after Benfica suffered a shock 3-2 defeat to Boavista on the opening weekend of the season, with coach Roger Schmidt publicly criticizing his side’s goalkeeper.

Vlachodimos – who was beaten by a powerful shot from close range, a penalty and a one-on-one – challenged Schmidt over his comments, and their relationship quickly collapsed.

After just one game into the new season, 21-year-old academy graduate Samuel Soares was appointed as Schmidt’s No.1 – and Vlachodimos was looking for a new club.

Despite being linked to Manchester United, it was Forest who sealed the deal, with Marinakis – the Greek shipping tycoon who also owns Olympiacos – swooping in to sign the Greek No.1, who is said to have long dreamed of a move to the Premier. League.

But it remains to be seen whether Vlachodimos will be Forest’s No.1. As was the case last season, when Cuper had both Keylor Navas and Dean Henderson to choose from at various points during the season, the manager has strength in depth between the sticks.

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Matt Turner arrived from Arsenal last month and has started all four of their Premier League matches this season, including keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Chelsea.

Over those four matches, Turner faced a total expected goals on target (xGOT) of 7.7 but conceded just six goals – meaning he conceded 1.7 fewer goals than expected.

The combination of Turner’s form and the arrival of Vlachodimos means Cuper has a decision to make as to who he hands the gloves to for the Premier League’s resumption after the international break, starting with Burnley on Monday, live. Sky Sports.

But it represents a good headache for the manager as he looks to fulfill Marinakis’ desire to get Forest back to the top of the tree.



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