The stunning £60m Nottingham Forest deal that could see club forget all about FFP concerns

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Forest could face strong interest in one of their key players this summer

You would assume Nottingham Forest are safe. Provided they don’t lose 6-0 to Burnley on Sunday afternoon, and provided Luton Town don’t beat Fulham by the same margin, the City Ground will see Premier League football again next season. Stranger things have happened than that unlikely dozen-goal swing, of course, but not many of them and not very often.

A relegation battle may only be the beginning of Forest’s struggles this summer, however. Having already been docked points this season for financial irregularities, the Midlands club continue to face external pressures from stringent governing bodies, and may be sobering up to the reality of a transfer window in which one or more of their star players are sacrificed as a means of balancing the books.

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Chief among those touted for a sale is Morgan Gibbs-White. The playmaker has been a hugely influential presence for Forest during their time in the Premier League, but it is, in an inverse sort of way, his abundance of quality that makes him such a viable candidate for a departure. Few other players in Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad shine like he does, and few could fetch such a hefty fee in one fell swoop.

Indeed, according to a report from Football Insider, Forest have slapped a £60 million price tag on their creative talisman. Speaking on an edition of the online publication’s Inside Track podcast, journalist Pete O’Rourke claimed that the club expected ‘massive’ interest in the midfielder over the coming weeks, and believe that he is their ‘most sellable asset’.

For his part, it is suggested that Gibbs-White would also be open to the prospect of a move as he looks to force his way into the senior England squad in the near future. Certainly, with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United pursuing him, you suspect that any transfer, were it to happen, would notably raise his profile within the English game.

Of that duo, it is Spurs who are said to be leading the chase for a talent who has recorded five goals and 10 assists in 36 Premier League outings this season. From Forest’s perspective, however, it is almost immaterial as to where he ends up. Instead, what matters is who can table the largest bid for his services, and provide them with the most breathing space in the process.

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Because ultimately, nobody in their right mind affiliated with Forest would want the 24-year-old to leave the City Ground this summer; he is the fulcrum on which so much of his side’s best work pivots, and with every passing month he seems to grow into his role as Nuno’s leading man more and more. But Forest, tangled up in the fiscal chaos that they are, desperately need some kind of scapegoat to drain the swelling. Gibbs-White would undoubtedly represent the most lucrative, and therefore most effective, way of doing exactly that.

It may sting and rankle somewhat, but Forest may not have much of a choice. As painful as it might be, they can go a long, long way towards solving their problems by selling Gibbs-White.

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