Why Nottingham Forest must complete a January swoop for Hugo Cuypers
According to Nottinghamshire Live, Championship high-flyers Nottingham Forest are weighing up a move for Belgian hitman Hugo Cuypers in the January transfer window, with manager Sabri Lamouchi keen to add more firepower to his ranks.
A former academy graduate of Belgian giants Standard Liege, Cuypers made only a solitary league appearance for his boyhood club and had a loan stint at RFC Seraing in the second-tier before shooting to prominence with Ergotelis in the Greek second-tier.
An eye-watering tally of 22 goals in 28 appearances for Ergotelis in the 2017-18 campaign caught the eye of heavyweights Olympiacos, who beat off competition from AEK Athens to get hold of the 22-year-old centre-forward. (h/t Nottingham Post)
Cuypers, though, failed to make an appearance for Olympiacos last season before being loaned out to French Ligue 2 side Ajaccio prior to the start of the ongoing campaign, where he has already made great strides and looks well on course to replicate his goalscoring heroics.
The former Belgian U-19 international has been in red-hot form in Ligue 2 this term, scoring 4 in 5 league outings to guide Ajaccio to 5th in the standings.
Cuypers has made a wonderful start to life in France and that hasn’t eluded the eyes of Forest, who share the same owner with Olympiacos in Evangelos Marinakis.
Meanwhile, Forest are tearing it up in the Championship following a bright start to the season and the Reds are currently the joint pace-setters with West Brom in the English second-tier.
It might be too early to jump to a conclusion but the two-time European champions have laid down an early marker as one of the promotion favourites this term.
To that end, Sabri Lamouchi’s charismatic stewardship has definitely played a big part in the Reds’ early-season success following a summer of heavy recruitment and almost all the gambles that he had played in the transfer market have paid off handsomely.
Having inherited a big squad upon his arrival, the Frenchman offloaded quite a few of the fringe players and brought in several little-known entities from various foreign leagues, including the likes of Chema, Brice Samba, Yuri Ribeiro, Tiago Silva and Samba Sow, whilst others like Sammy Ameobi and Albert Adomah came through the door on free transfers.
Despite a strong start to the campaign, Forest are probably aware of the lack of quality depth in their centre-forward options, with Lewis Grabban the only tried and tested goalscorer in the ranks.
The 31-year-old has netted 5 times in 11 games while the likes of Ameobi, Joe Lolley and Adomah have all chipped in with valuable goals and assists but the failure of Wolves loanee Rafa Mir to make a significant impact is likely to tempt Forest into looking for reinforcements up top.
Hugo Cuypers, who stands at 6ft. 1 inch with a powerful frame, carved out a reputation for himself as a bonafide goalscorer in the Greek second-tier earlier in his career and that he looks capable of doing the same in France has apparently prompted Forest to eye him up as a potential target in January.
The Belgian is not just a good finisher but he is a real treat to watch when he has the ball at his feet and is more than capable of linking up and setting up goals with sumptuous assists.
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It is still unclear whether the Reds are looking at a permanent move or simply a loan deal until the end of the season but Hugo Cuypers certainly looks good enough to add valuable depth and firepower to the attacking cavalry.
Of course, the Belgian would only arrive as an understudy to Grabban but that is exactly what Forest need at the moment. Plus, he is a young player with a lot of room for improvement in the future.
The 22-year-old’s lack of previous exposure in English football is something that Forest are likely to take into consideration but given that Lamouchi has worked wonders at the City Ground with several such unproven players, one would expect them to put their trust in the manager’s transfer activity.