Ola Aina says the lure of an “exciting project”, as well as working under head coach Steve Cooper, drew him to Nottingham Forest.

The defender has become the Reds’ first new addition of the summer transfer window, making the move as a free agent. He has penned an initial one-year deal, with options for the future agreed in the contract.

Aina recently left Torino, having made more than 100 appearances during five years with the Italian outfit. But he does have experience of English football and the Premier League.

The 26-year-old came up through the ranks at Chelsea and has had loan spells at Hull City and Fulham during his career. He already knows what to expect at the City Ground – both on and off the pitch.

“I’m very excited to be here and I can’t wait to get started,” the Nigeria international, who was first linked with Forest 12 months ago, told the official website.

“I wanted to be back on English soil again and Forest is a club which has an exciting project and team.

“The manager as well, what he wants from the team is something which I want to buy into. He’s told me it’s a family club, he’s told me we have a great bunch of players and he’s told me I’ll enjoy it here.

“It’s exciting to be back playing in the Premier League. It’s the best league in the world and I always want to challenge myself.

“I know some of the boys well already, which is good for me, but I’m excited to meet the rest of my teammates and get to know everyone. I saw Forest in action last season and the fans are as loud as can be throughout the whole game, which is something I’m relishing and can’t wait to experience. I can’t wait for it.”

Aina may be first through the door, but he won’t be the last as the Reds look to strengthen ahead of the 2023/24 Premier League campaign. Manchester United’s Anthony Elanga is expected to be their next addition, in a £15m deal.

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