Nottingham Forest transfer confirmed after heartfelt goodbye message

Nottingham Forest head coach Nuno Espirito Santo
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Defender Moussa Niakhate's move from Nottingham Forest to Lyon has been confirmed.

The centre-back's switch to France brings an end to his two years on Trentside. Niakhate signed from Mainz for £13 million in the summer of 2022 as part of the Reds’ recruitment drive following promotion to the Premier League.

Injuries hampered him somewhat but he played his part in Forest securing survival in both of the last two seasons as he made 37 appearances in the Garibaldi. Even when not playing, he remained an important figure in the dressing room.

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There has been some discrepancy over the fee involved for the 28-year-old. Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has said Lyon paid £20 million for his services.

According to Foot Mercato, Niakhate was also wanted by Crystal Palace and Lille. However, it seems midfielder Orel Mangala had a hand in convincing the Senegal international to choose Lyon. Mangala spent the second half of last term on loan at the Ligue 1 side and has already made the move there on a permanent basis.

In a statement, Forest said: "We wish Moussa all the best for the future and thank him for his contributions during his time at the club." Prior to his switch being confirmed, Niakhate penned an emotional farewell message to Forest fans. He thanked Reds supporters, players and staff, as well as owner Evangelos Marinakis and his son Miltos for lots of “love and support” during the good and the tough times.

In a post on social media, Niakhate wrote: “Thank you for making me feel at home from day one. I always felt your love and support every time I stepped onto the pitch, but what’s crazy is that I felt it more during my most difficult moments, particularly my injury. That was the most difficult moment of my career but everyone at Forest from the staff to my teammates and the fans gave me something to smile about every day and I will never forget this.

“In the end we have always achieved our objectives thanks to the combativeness and determination of the players and staff who were present during the return of this historic club to the elite. We experienced difficult moments together but also exceptional moments of joy at our famous City Ground and I am happy and proud that on a sporting level we managed to maintain our Premier League status.

“So thank you to all the fans, staff, medical, security, everyone at the club. I will never forget you. And to my teammates, you are all warriors.. I love you all like my brothers.

“And finally a big thank you to Mr Marinakis and Miltos, for your trust in me and much more than that. Respect and consideration are the most important things to me, much more than football. And I testify that you have been much more than owners to me, thank you.

“If I could change one thing about my story with you, I would change absolutely nothing. I will only keep wonderful memories of my time here. But what I am happiest about is that I leave with the feeling that you have understood exactly who I am, you have figured me out and in turn I learned that Nottingham Forest is more than a football club.”

Were Forest right to let Niakhate go? Have your say in the comments below