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Steve Cooper: Nottingham Forest set to appoint ex-Swansea boss after £1.2m compensation agreed

Swansea are due compensation from Nottingham Forest after Steve Cooper remained under his 2022 contract despite leaving his role as head coach in July; Forest are now close to appointing the 41-year-old to succeed Chris Hughton

Steve Cooper (PA)
Image: Talks between Nottingham Forest and Steve Cooper's representatives are said to be at a relatively early stage

Nottingham Forest have agreed compensation with Swansea to hire Steve Cooper as their next manager.

The 41-year-old is expected to be appointed at the City Ground after a fee in the region of £1.2m was agreed between the clubs.

Cooper has remained under his 2022 contract at the Liberty Stadium despite leaving his role as head coach in July.

Talks remain ongoing over the final details of his new contract with Forest, as interim boss Steven Reid prepares to take the team to Huddersfield on Saturday.

Sky Sports News reported on Thursday that Cooper was in talks with Forest, having been identified as their preferred candidate to succeed Chris Hughton.

Hughton was sacked on Thursday with Forest bottom of the Championship, having gone winless and lost six of their first seven games.

They see Cooper as the man to develop their young and underachieving squad, after he was highly-regarded at the Liberty Stadium for leading the Swans to the Championship play-off final on a modest budget last season.

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They attempted to discuss a new contract with him but he left, and was also considered by Premier League club Crystal Palace during their search for a new manager in the summer, which ultimately saw them appoint Patrick Vieira.

Chris Hughton
Image: Chris Hughton replaced Sabri Lamouchi at the City Ground in October 2020

Why Steve Cooper?

Cooper's track record of improving young players at the Liberty Stadium, and previously working with youth teams at the FA, makes him particularly attractive to the Forest hierarchy, Sky Sports News has been told.

Forest currently have 14 members of the first team under the age of 25, including highly-regarded attacker Brennan Johnson - a summer target for Premier League Brentford.

Talks between Forest and Cooper's representatives are said to be at a relatively early stage, so it is likely caretaker manager Steven Reid will be in charge for the clash with Huddersfield on Saturday.

Former Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder was also among the favourites to take over at Forest, with initial talks held but the club decided to pursue other managerial options.

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Highlights from the Sky Bet Championship match between Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough

Cooper would become Forest's 20th manager since 2011; the club having continued the trend of a change in the dugout at least once every year since Billy Davies' first spell in charge.

Sabri Lamouchi remains the longest-serving manager in the last decade; in charge for just over 15 months.

Analysis: 'Deep-rooted problems need to be unpicked'

Sky Sports EFL expert David Prutton:

"It is not surprising - and I do not mean that in a callous way by any stretch of the imagination. He had been there since October last year and, in Championship terms, almost a year is a hell of a long time to try and get things right at a football club.

"It feels to me like there's a lot of deep-rooted problems there that need to be unpicked. Forest have gone through a ridiculous amount of players over the last two or three seasons, with the turnover in the high 80s, if I remember rightly. But if you look at the team [that played Middlesbrough], that's a team that should not be bottom of the league. That's a team that should not be propping up the rest of the division and I think Chris - as all managers do when their teams are not playing well - has paid the price.

"There is a squad there that needs to look at themselves, but having seen them over the course of this year, having seen how well they did under Sabri Lamouchi in the season that ended in heartbreak when they missed out on the play-offs, they have played in a way where Chris had to set up defensively and had to stop what was going wrong at the back. At times, I think that has sacrificed them going forward.

"In a couple of games that we covered, it almost felt as though they were settling for a point with 70 minutes on the clock, which, when fans are not in, is a little easier to do. When they are in, that frustration comes in and I think that was very clearly shown against Middlesbrough, where even sections of the home crowd were calling for Chris to go. That is extremely unsavoury but I think, given the open forum that is a football crowd, it was to be expected.

"His credentials are there for all to see. That success that he has had in the second tier - being able to take teams back into the Premier League - has been something Forest have been crying out for since I played for them the first time around in the late 1990s. But a succession of squads, players and managers that have not been up to scratch leaves them where they are right now."

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