Everton and Nottingham Forest have been charged with breaching the Premier League’s Profitability and Sustainability Rules.
The duo now await potential sanctions after being charged with breaching the division’s financial rules, which dictate clubs can lose no more than £105m over a three-year period.
Forest have spent around £250m on new players since promotion to the Premier League in 2022, bringing in 43 players in an attempt to build a squad capable of competing at the top level. Everton, meanwhile, received a 10-point penalty for a first charge of breaching Profit and Sustainability rules in November.
Premier League rivals will be keeping a close eye on developments, with each squad full of attractable assets should sales be required to balance the books. We’ve looked at five Everton and Nottingham Forest players who could be sold to raise funds.
Amadou Onana (Everton)
Amadou Onana looks a likely casualty should Everton cash in on a star name this month. The box-to-box Belgian is admired at Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea among others, following his all-action performances since arriving in the Premier League.
Onana combines ball-winning ability with dynamism in possession, able to drive forward powerfully from midfield and influence the game at both ends of the pitch. The 22-year-old cost the Toffees around £33m when signing from Lille 18 months ago, but could earn Everton around double that figure now.
“We are in a position to do the best we can with the team we have got but we are in the position where if the right deal came along…” Dyche said on potential exits last week.
“But you’ve seen how quiet it is in January and we are certainly not thinking of players going out of the building.”
Morgan Gibbs-White (Nottingham Forest)
Nottingham Forest broke their transfer record to sign Morgan Gibbs-White from Wolves in 2022, agreeing a deal worth an initial £25m for the midfielder. Former manager Steve Cooper had worked with Gibbs-White previously and was rewarded for his faith in the 23-year-old.
Gibbs-White scored five goals and provided eight assists as Forest secured top-flight status for another season, performances which earned the midfielder the club’s Player of the Season award. His drive in possession was a feature of Forest’s attacking play, impressing in tandem with the now-departed Brennan Johnson.
— Morgan Gibbs-White (@Morgangibbs27) December 30, 2023
Gibbs-White has failed to hit those same heights this season, though has begun to return to form under new manager Nuno Espirito Santo. Losing the midfielder’s x-factor mid-season would be a damaging blow to Forest’s survival hopes, though Gibbs-White appears the club’s most valuable asset.
Forest, however, will hope the £47.5m sale of Johnson to Tottenham on deadline day can appease the Premier League. The forward’s exit came two months after the June 30 cut-off date for financial accounts.
Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Jordan Pickford signed a new contract to remain at Everton in February, despite reported interest in the goalkeeper from Manchester United and Tottenham.
Spurs have since signed the impressive Guglielmo Vicario as their number one, though Manchester United have seen Andre Onana struggle since arriving from Inter Milan. Chelsea and Newcastle could also be open to signing a long-term number one, should Pickford be made available at Goodison Park.
The 29-year-old has been a consistent performer across 259 appearances for Everton, twice winning the club’s Player of the Season accolade. He has also rarely faulted for England, during an international career that has seen Pickford win 58 caps.
Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest)
Taiwo Awoniyi returned for a second crack at the Premier League last season, with the former Liverpool academy prospect signing for Nottingham Forest.
Awoniyi had scored 20 goals in 43 games for Union Berlin the previous season and ended his maiden campaign at the City Ground as Forest’s leading scorer.
The Nigerian has scored 14 goals in just 25 Premier League starts for Forest, averaging a goal in England’s top flight every 148 minutes. That sort of return, despite concerns over his recent fitness record, will attract interest and sizeable bids.
Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton)
Though not an academy graduate, Jarrad Branthwaite would be considered a huge profit for Everton should he be sold, having signed for the Toffees from Carlisle for a fee of £1m in 2020.
The 21-year-old returned from an excellent loan spell at PSV Eindhoven in the summer and has been handed his chance in the team under Sean Dyche, forming a solid partnership with James Tarkowski at centre-back.
Branthwaite ranks fourth in the Premier League for interceptions (32), sixth for clearances (86) and seventh for the percentage of dribblers tackled (80.6%) this season, form which has raised speculation over a potential England call-up.
🥶 Of the 110 outfield players to have started 15+ matches in the Premier League this season, 𝗢𝗡𝗟𝗬 Jarrad Branthwaite is yet to be dispossessed of possession pic.twitter.com/qNZ0x63LwR
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 11, 2024
Manchester United, Manchester City and Spurs have all been credited with interest, who last month it was suggested could command a £100m record fee for a defender. Real Madrid have also reportedly monitored developments, with Carlo Ancelotti having handed Branthwaite his debut at Everton.
Though a world-record fee for a defender appears ambitious, Branthwaite’s attributes and impressive performances this season have seen several top clubs take note. An England debut in the spring appears likely on current form.