Morgan Gibbs-White is the player Steve Cooper has always wanted since Nottingham Forest’s return to the Premier League, and the pursuit is finally over.
Gibbs-White will become the 16th signing of a hectic summer by completing a club record move worth an initial £25 million, which could rise to £42.5m after various add-ons.
Negotiations with Wolves restarted on Wednesday afternoon, with Forest’s third offer of the summer regarded as too good to turn down after the £38m capture of Matheus Nunes from Sporting.
It is a huge fee for a player with just 48 Premier League appearances and one goal, but Cooper is convinced the England Under-21 international will take his expensively assembled squad to another level.
When Cooper lifted the World Cup with England’s Under-17s in 2017, Gibbs-White was one of the first names on his team sheet.
That team included generational talents such as Manchester City’s Phil Foden, Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho and Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe, yet Cooper regarded Gibbs-White of equal importance.
When Forest clinched promotion in last season’s Championship play-off final, the 22-year-old quickly emerged as Cooper’s No 1 target.
Indeed, it is understood to have been a frustration for Cooper that Gibbs-White had completed a loan move to Sheffield United a fortnight before his appointment at Forest last September.
With his potential, age and ability to play in a number of attacking positions, Gibbs-White is viewed as an ideal fit for Cooper’s squad.
He started his medical on Thursday afternoon and Forest hope to tie up the deal before their trip to Everton this weekend.
The fee breaks down as £25m up front, a further £7-10m in add-ons, plus other ambitious instalments which are difficult to achieve (such as Forest qualifying for European competition) but could take the final figure to £42.5m.
It takes Forest’s summer spending towards the £140m mark, with Greek owner Evangelos Marinakis determined to establish the club as Premier League regulars.
Marinakis told Telegraph Sport in May that he would provide Cooper with the financial ammunition, and has stayed true to his word.
Why should Forest waste this opportunity to build on Cooper's upward momentum? What would be the point in exercising caution, to then be relegated and take the parachute payments?
Forest are determined to make this season a memorable one, and Sunday's victory over West Ham provided firm evidence that they could surprise people this season.
Maybe in a few years, the expression 'Doing a Forest' will be used for promoted clubs daring to aim higher than just mere survival.
Ahead of the match at Goodison Park, Cooper admitted that Forest are still in the market for even more signings before the September 1 deadline.
“There’s certainly some areas that we want to strengthen in all of the lines through the pitch, but it’s about finding the right characters to fit into our way of working,” he said.
“That is what we’re committed to doing. We’re down the line on a few things and hopefully we can finish the process of getting them through the door.
“There will be players that leave too, which is not too much of a negative situation. Some guys need to leave to further their careers, whether it’s out on loan and they come back or move on a permanent basis.”