Transfer frenzy: Forest & Olympiacos break records under owner Marinakis
Nottingham Forest were one of the biggest stories of the summer transfer window. The newly promoted Premier League club broke transfer record after transfer record, signing 23 players this summer, breaking a British transfer record. The deals were fueled by the Premier League parachute money and the investment of Greek owner Evangelos Marinakis.
Marinakis took over Nottingham Forest in 2017 and led the club back to the Premier League in 2022 for the first time since 1999. What followed has been an incredible development. Forest not only smashed records in terms of player signings but also in the amount of money invested. The promoted Premier League side have spent €161.95 million this window on new players already. Only four clubs have spent more money this summer. It was also the most any promoted club has spent in the history of the game.
That investment is, however, only half the story. On top of being the owner of Nottingham Forest, Marinakis is also the president and owner of Olympiacos Piraeus. The Greek Super League 1 club signed an incredible 15 players this summer. Not including Ui-jo Hwang and Josh Bowler—both were signed by Forest and then loaned to Olympiacos—the two Marinakis clubs have signed an incredible 35 players this summer.
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Last updated: September 2, 2022
Forest & Olympiacos transfer spending is "an incredible story"
“It is an incredible story when you think about it,” one agent who wants to remain anonymous said toTransfermarkt. “I called their sporting director [Christian Karambeu] this summer to see if he needs any players. He told me: ‘no, we will make no further deals.’ And then they signed all these guys at once.”
The frenzy at Olympiacos on the last few days of the Greek window was indeed incredible. Brazilian superstar Marcelo, former Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich playmaker James Rodríguez and Congolese striker Cédric Bakambu are just three notable Greek deadline day signings. The club also landed American Konrad de la Fuente (on loan from Olympique Marseille) and, in demand, Copenhagen attacking midfielder Pep Biel.
James, Marcelo & Co. - Olympiacos' most valuable signings in 2022/23
Altogether, Olympiacos spent just €16 million on new transfers, a far cry from the investment Forest made throughout the summer. But within the context of Super League 1, this is a staggering investment. In comparison, the second biggest spenders—PAOK—spent less than half (€5.98m) on new players.
Under Marinakis: Olympiacos biggest spenders in Greece this summer
The spending frenzy also has increased the gap in terms of squad value between Olympiacos and their closest rivals. Right now, Olympiacos’ squad value is €144.8 million, AEK Athens are second with a squad value of just €54.55 million. Some of the gap can be explained by Olympiacos’ squad size (37 players) but even when one takes the average market value per player the gap to the next team (AEK) is €1.89m (overview).
What stands out the most, however, is the frenzy in which those deals were conducted. Here the parallels between Forest and Olympiacos are perhaps the most obvious as both clubs signed players up to the deadline and even beyond.
“This strategy will either be a complete success or completely backfire,” the agent told TM. “There is no in-between. But when you look at the number of players signed, it is hard to imagine that you can find any sort of chemistry.”
Forest transfer offensive: A high-stake poker game
Indeed, the moves feel almost reactionary. Both Forest and Olympiacos have struggled at the start of the season. Nottingham have collected just four points from their first seven games and sit in 19th place in the Premier League table. Olympiacos, in the meantime, are sixth in the Super League 1 with just eight points from the first five games of the season.
But the transfers could also work out. One agent noted that the amount of capital acquired, whether it is Morgan Gibbs-White (from Wolves for €29.5m) or Taiwo Awoniyi (from Union Berlin for €20.5m) or the many free agents signed by Olympiacos, might very well generate a profit over the next few windows.
The transfer market is a high-stakes poker game, and Marinakis seems to have gone all-in. Whether he will win or lose remains to be seen and will add further drama to both Forest's and Olympiacos' season this year.
Premier League dominates - Transfer spending in the summer of 2022
Last updated: September 1, 2022