The £31m from player sales Nottingham Forest could make to boost summer transfer war chest

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Steve Cooper’s side could be in for another busy summer of transfer activity.

Send him to Italy. Please. I need to see what it looks like. The morbid curiousity is too much for me to articulate, too much for me to fathom. I get a similar feeling when I muse about all the little green men jogging on treadmills inside Area 51, or when I consider the megatherium, a giant ground-dwelling sloth endemic to South America that became extinct around the end of the Pleistocene epoch. How can I ever rest in peace without witnessing them for myself? Of course, I never will, but equally I must, and therefore I can’t. The very least somebody can do, then - the smallest consolation I can be placated with - is to sell Jonjo Shelvey to a Serie A club.

This languid, scheming presence of a midfielder, gliding around his patch as he does like Voldemort’s gangland cousin, would thrive in a Florence, or a Sassuolo, or a Udine. Of that I am convinced. Think of what he could conjure in the vast expanses of an Italian engine room. Think of the personal renaissance he could enact among the verdant rolling vineyards, his head shimmering beneath gentle sunbeams like a chiseled slab of the finest white marble. He is, after all, a kind of Anti-Pirlo; all of the passing range with none of the Versace. And now you’d be lying if you said that you didn’t want to see it too. Even just a little.

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Former Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.Former Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.
Former Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey. | Getty Images

But first, Shelvey would need to leave Nottingham Forest. And in fairness, he just might. Him and a few others this summer. When the two-time champions of Europe were promoted last year, much was made of their monsoon of transfer business; by the time the supermarket checkout scanner had stopped bleeping, their receipt read like the Domesday Book. Then they treated themselves to a few more recruits in the January sales too.

This preseason, you would expect that Forest will be nowhere near as busy as they were last time around. If they are, we might have to begin entertaining the notion that they are not actually a football club, but rather a front for a human trafficking ring. But still, there are slithering tendrils of speculation emerging from the undergrowth at the City Ground, suggestions that yet more arrivals are wanted before August bleeds into autumn.

And that, in turn, could necessitate departures. There are only so many coach hire companies and coathangers in the city of Nottingham, after all. Shelvey, you suspect, could be one of them. If he does go, the boffins at Transfermarkt, with their abacuses and chewed biros, postulate that he could fetch around £6 million. Seems optimistic, but hey ho.

Now let’s see, who else? Well, Jordan Smith, Jack Colback, Cafu, Jesse Lingard, Lyle Taylor, and Andre Ayew are all expected to leave once their contracts expire - and Dean Henderson, Keylor Navas, and Renan Lodi should all return to their parent clubs for the time being, at least - but seeing as they wouldn’t bolster Forest’s coffers any, allow us to skirt swiftly past them.

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In terms of financially beneficial exits, there are a few who you immediately fear for. Forgotten men like Josh Bowler and Hwang Ui-jo - the latter of whom could genuinely be a cynical marketing invention designed to sell shirts in East Asia for all I know - are surely facing precarious futures, and could bring in a combined £6 million or so, according to Transfermarkt. Add to that pairing the likes of Jonathan Panzo, Ethan Horvath, and perhaps even Loic Mbe Soh - all also shipped out on loan this term - and that could be the same figure again right there.

Then there are the players on the periphery, the ones who have featured this season, but maybe not as much as they would have liked. Take Willy Boly, for instance. Eleven Premier League appearances in 2022/23 and a contract that expires next summer? Could be a sale. Or what about Sam Surridge? Three goals in 27 apperances across all competitions? Could be a sale. Lewis O’Brien? Less than 800 minutes of English football this term and a whole host of Championship clubs who would surely take Forest’s hand clean off if they were offered the chance to sign him? Say it with me, folks... COULD BE A SALE!!!

Those three players alone, were they to go, could be worth around £13 million to the right bidders, and slowly but surely you see how all of these little deals might come in handy if Forest are in need of some extra pocket money.

And honestly, we might only have scratched the surface. One of the quirks of this Forest squad is that there are misplaced players tucked away all over the place, snoozing in dusty alcoves or peering tentatively out of inconspicuous wheelie bins in shady alleyways. I will personally send a fiver to anybody who can promise to me that they hand-on-heart-swear-to-Christ-Almighty remembered Harry Arter was still on the books in the Midlands. I would wager that even he forgets some days.

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The point is that there are plenty of vendable assets just sat around gathering rust at the City Ground, and that’s before you even begin to consider the very real possibility of a big name leaving. But right now, let’s not do that. Let’s imagine that Forest have a dream of a transfer window in which everybody who is meant to stay put does, and everybody who has served their purpose just kind of drifts into the ether like barbecue smoke on a pleasant evening. Even in that precise set of circumstances, there is money to be made here.

But forget all of that. If you take nothing else away from this article, please, just send Jonjo Shelvey to Italy.

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