Nottingham Forest manager Mark Warburton has made his fifth signing of the summer as midfielder Andreas Bouchalakis joined the club from Greek side Olympiakos on a free transfer.
The Reds will now be looking to secure further additions in this transfer window to ensure they compete better in The Championship than last season as they just managed to avoid relegation to League One on the final day.
Strengthening a key position
Bouchalakis featured twice in pre-season for Forest during his trial period against Notts County and Mansfield Town. He impressed on both occasions and looks like he could be an astute addition to Warburton's squad, especially considering he arrives on a free transfer. The fact he has been given a three-year deal by the club signals the faith that Warburton has in him and that he believes he can be a useful player for the Reds next season.
The 24-year-old began his career at Ergotelis before making the move to Olympiakos in 2013. He only made a total of 22 appearances for the Greek outfit during his four-year spell at the club and scored twice in the process. However, he has proven to Warburton in pre-season that he will be able to cope with the demands of The Championship next season.
Forest did need to add a defensive midfielder to their ranks after being so poor defensively last season. The Reds have never really filled the void left by Paul McKenna many years ago. It will be hoped that Bouchalakis can sit in front of the back four and dictate play but still with some attacking threat. He has shown his potential both defensively and offensively in pre-season so far.
However, having trained with the Forest squad for the last few weeks, he will be aware that he will have a difficult task to maintain a regular place in Warburton's starting line-up. The likes of Chris Cohen, David Vaughan, Matty Cash and Zach Clough are just a few of a number of midfield options available to Warburton and Bouchalakis will have to impress to keep his place in the team.
Bouchalakis 'excited' to join Forest
The 24-year-old has already spoken of his excitement to play in front of The City Ground crowd next season after securing a contract. He told Forest's official site: "I am very happy to be here at a very big club. I can't wait to play in front of the fans at The City Ground. The players have been very friendly to me and have helped me. Vellios has helped me as well from the first day to help me to be part of the team."
He added: "It is a nice way of playing for me as I like to play with the ball. It feels good for me as I like how the manager works. I like to play with the ball and to play fast and I am a fighter as well; I can't wait to play."
The midfielder joins the likes of Jason Cummings, Barrie McKay and Daryl Murphy who have all already arrived at the club from Hibernian, Rangers and Newcastle United respectively. Burnley defender Tendayi Darikwa also joined the club for an undisclosed fee just yesterday.
Warburton is equally delighted to get a deal over the line and add further quality to his squad. He said: "Andreas joined us for the training camp with a very good pedigree. We are delighted with the way he has adapted to the demands and the contribution he has made. He is a welcome addition to the squad, providing a strength in depth in midfield."
He added: "He is a good technician and a good passer of the ball. He sees it and he can execute it and he has shown that in the two games he has played. He has made an immediate impression and we are delighted to welcome him on board."