Odysseas Vlachodimos' Nottingham Forest spell unpacked as £7.7m star has Newcastle point to prove

Newcastle United announced the unexpected signing of Greek international goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos over the weekend and it is safe to say his arrival has left fans underwhelmed.

Forest signed Elliot Anderson as Newcastle needed to trade players to comply with profit and sustainability rules and Vlachodimos' transfer in the other direction helped Forest with their PSR worries, too.

With Martin Dubravka keen to play regular first team football elsewhere next season, it was a marriage of convenience for all parties involved in the deal. Vlachodimos will come in as Newcastle's number two, and compete with number one Nick Pope next season.

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Former England international goalkeeper John Ruddy was signed as Newcastle's new third choice goalkeeper on Monday, replacing the departing Loris Karius, with Mark Gillespie rounding off the Magpies' goalkeeping department.

United have tracked the 30-year-old's progress for a long time, dating back to his spell with Portuguese giants Benfica. He eventually made the move to the Premier League last season but he ended the campaign as Forest's third choice goalkeeper.

Having been linked with Georgia's EURO 2024 star Giorgi Mamardashvili and England under-21 international James Trafford, Newcastle fans cannot be blamed for their lack of excitement.

But was his spell at the City Ground as bad as fans have first feared? And could the Magpies have uncovered a transfer steal? Chronicle Live put those questions to Nottingham Live's Nottingham Forest reporter Sarah Clapson to get the inside track on Newcastle's new goalkeeper.

Vlachodimos only joined Nottingham Forest last summer but made only seven appearances and was not even in the squad for the majority of the second half of the season. Why did he struggle to cement himself as Forest's number one goalkeeper?

"He arrived once the season had already started, which didn’t help initially. Matt Turner had signed just before Forest’s opening game, so was already in position in the XI when Vlachodimos put pen to paper.

"Turner made some errors but Steve Cooper, who was still in charge at the time, wanted to give him a chance in the knowledge that changing keeper is a big call to make. Vlachodimos got his opportunity eventually, but he didn’t really take it.

"Forest were struggling when the change was made and they continued to ship goals when Vlachodimos came in. He didn’t provide the solution it was hoped he might do, with the 5-0 thumping at Fulham in December a real low point of the season.

"Turner came back in after that, and Nuno Espirito Santo stuck with the American when he replaced Cooper at the helm. That left Vlachodimos on the bench.

"Forest’s goalkeeping problems still weren’t solved. They brought in Matz Sels in the January window. He became first-choice, with Turner second and Vlachodimos bumped further down the pecking order."

How would you describe his goalkeeping style?

"He arrived with a decent pedigree and a good CV, but didn’t really live up to that billing for Forest so it is tough to really say what he is like. The complaint from some fans during his spell in the XI was that he barely made any saves, just conceded goals.

"On a fairly small sample size, his shot-stopping wasn’t the best - although he didn’t always get a lot of help from his defenders. He must have something about him, though, as he has done well for his country and while he was at Benfica."

Eddie Howe is big on players having the right character and setting standards and helping drive a positive culture away from the pitch if they are not playing. Steve Cooper praised his character last season so do you believe Vlachodimos will help Newcastle in that regard?

"Reports began to leak out from Greece towards the back end of last season that Vlachodimos wasn’t happy about his lack of game time and would seek a summer move. But there was no indication he was a disruptive presence or threw his toys out of the pram amid all of that.

"The goalkeeping unit was a pretty tight one and Vlachodimos still contributed to that, even when he wasn’t playing. Given Forest were battling relegation, they needed unity and a good team spirit. Vlachodimos will have played his part in that and will no doubt have taken a lot from the whole experience."

With all that in mind, do you think he will prove to be a good signing for Newcastle?

"I’m sure he will want to prove that how things panned out at Forest do not represent the kind of player he is. If he gets the opportunity, I’m sure he would want to prove a point.

"As mentioned above, he clearly has ability. He was viewed as a really solid addition when he signed for Forest and a lot of fans were eager for him to replace Turner sooner than he did. It didn’t happen for him when he did get that chance, but it’s always unwise to completely write players off after one move doesn’t work out. It will certainly be interesting to see how he gets on at Newcastle."