Nottingham Forest - who could be sold after financial breach - Morgan Gibbs-White
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Nottingham Forest: Who could be sold after financial breach?

Nottingham Forest are the latest club to have been sanctioned by the Premier League, with the club deducted four points for a breach of the division’s Profit and Sustainability Rules.

The verdict has dropped Nuno Espirito Santo’s side into the relegation places and the concerns do not stop there. Forest must find somewhere between £22m and £27m before June 30 to fall within the guidelines and avoid further sanctions – regardless of which division the club are in next season.

Rival clubs are already circling, anticipating the sale of at least one top talent from the City Ground.

Nottingham Forest: Who could be sold after financial breach?

Morgan Gibbs-White

Morgan Gibbs-White will not be short of admirers should Forest make the midfielder available for sale, with the 24-year-old having established himself as a Premier League player at the City Ground. After struggling for status at Wolves, an impressive loan spell at Sheffield United persuaded newly-promoted Forest to make Gibbs-White their record signing for an initial £25m in 2022.

Steve Cooper was keen to reunite with a player he previously worked with for England at youth level and Gibbs-White rewarded that faith, earning Nottingham Forest’s Player of the Season award as the leading light in the club’s successful survival bid.

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Five goals and eight assists were an impressive return last season and Gibbs-White has been involved in eight goals (3G and 5A) during the current campaign to date. A technically gifted midfielder with homegrown status, many believe Gibbs-White can comfortably handle another step up.

Tottenham and Newcastle have been linked, while West Ham could emerge as an option if interest is firmed up in Lucas Paqueta this summer.

Murillo

The scattergun recruitment process of Nottingham Forest is littered with hits and misses, though among the avalanche of new arrivals has been some shrewd business. Perhaps none better than Murillo, who since arriving from Corinthians last summer has turned the heads of elite clubs.

The Brazilian is excellent in possession, powerful, and dominant in duels, with Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle this week linked with signing the 21-year-old. Signed for a fee in the region of £15m in the summer, there is belief within the City Ground that Murillo could command a sum in excess of two to three times that figure.

Murillo ranks in the top three per cent of central defenders in Europe’s top five leagues for successful take-ons and clearances per 90 minutes this season and has been backed to become a full Brazil international. Forest will be reluctant to lose him at this stage, but his clear ceiling makes Murillo an obvious sale.

Taiwo Awoniyi

Taiwo Awoniyi’s numbers are sure to attract approaches from rival sides, with perhaps only fitness issues having prevented the Nigerian from posting the returns that lead to inevitable interest.

The 26-year-old has scored 16 goals in 29 league starts since arriving from Union Berlin, having fired the Bundesliga side to Europa League football with a 20-goal campaign in 2021/22. That Awoyini has only started 29 games in almost two seasons at Forest is a big concern, however, with the forward currently sidelined again after groin surgery earlier in the campaign.

Having missed nine league games last season with another groin issue, suitors will want the Super Eagles star to prove his burly frame is robust enough before sanctioning a big-money bid. His goal record, however, will be tempting. There is no shortage of Premier League clubs in search of centre-forward firepower this summer.

Could Forest avoid the sale of a star?

The benefit of a bloated squad is that Forest have an abundance of fringe players who could be sold to recoup the funds required.

Orel Mangala’s loan move to Lyon includes an option to buy worth £20m, plus the initial £10m loan fee. Joe Worrall’s loan move to Besiktas is unlikely to be made permanent (£4m), though the centre-back will have suitors in English football in the summer.

Forest also have Lewis O’Brien and Emmanuel Dennis out on loan at Middlesbrough and Watford respectively, while at least one of Matt Turner or Odi Vlachodimos will likely be sold after failing to convince as first-choice goalkeepers.

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