January 31 2000

A Bit Of All Whyte: Rumours are circulating that David Platt is interested in signing Aberdeen defender Derek Whyte after failing to land Derby's Spencer Prior last week.

January 27 2000

Platt Must Sell: Reports are coming in that David Platt has been told he must sell in the near future to start reducing the clubs wage level from £10.5m to a more acceptable £5-6m.

The board originally told him last week that he must start to sell players before he could buy again. In light of Stern John's injury at the weekend the board (in a very unusual move for a football club) decide to give him the money he needed to replace John as an emergency measure. However, once the signings are completed the board are looking to get their money back as quickly as possible by selling of at least one player.

The Nottingham Evening Post this evening is carrying the news that at least one of a quartet of multi-million pound players must be sold. The players discussed are Andy Johnson, Alan Rogers, Chris Bart-Williams and Mark Crossley.

Mark Crossley is unlikely to command much of a fee due to the fact that he is available for a free in the summer and most clubs, unless absolutely desperate, are unlikely to want to pay for him.

However, in view of the boards decision to reduce the wages bill then the end looks to be in sight for Mark Crossley, who is currently one of the highest paid players at the club.

As well as the above players, Ian Woan is expected to leave in the summer when his contract expires. Other players such as Dougie Freedman and Nigel Quashie could be offloaded.

Christian Edwards has already been told by Platt that he has no future at Forest and has told the player he can leave for a fee of £100,000.

Norm The Fox: David Platt may, or may not want to keep Mark Crossley at Forest, but it looks like 'big Norm' is not going to struggle to find another club. The 'keeper has already been linked with possible moves to Sheffield Wednesday and Wimbledon and the latest club to show an interest is Leicester.

Leicester are set to lose their penalty shoot-out specialist, Pegguy Arphexad, when he too will leave the club in the summer under the terms of the Bosman ruling.

January 26 2000

Ram Raid: Forest are today being linked with a move for out-of-favour Derby defender Spencer Prior.

Prior is currently valued at around £600,000, and just how far Platt is willing to take his interest in the player will depend largely on how much money Eric Barnes is willing to let him have.

January 25 2000

Norm The Womble: The ongoing contract wrangles between Forest and Mark Crossley are no nearer being resolved. The latest club to be linked with the goalie are Wimbledon.

The Dons currently have Scottish International Neil Sullivan in goal, but he is in the same position as Crossley in that his contract with Wimbledon expires in the summer and popular rumour has it that he is on his way to Celtic.

January 24 2000

Platt's Striker Problems: David Platt looks ready to leap straight into the transfer market for a striker following the news that Stern John could be out injured for some time.

His main targets are still understood to be Grimsby's Jack Lester and Sheffield United's Martin smith. Both are available for free in the summer when their contracts run out, however, Platt may find himself having to pay a reduced fee for for one or both of them to secure their services before the end of the season.

January 21 2000

Club Must Cut Wages Bill: The board of Nottingham Forest are demanding that the club cut it's excessive wages bill. The current wages bill is believed to be between £10m and £10.5m which is way above the boards desired level of £5m to £6m.

The first casualty of the wage cutting exercise could well turn out to be Mark Crossley. The long serving keeper has made more than 300 appearances for the club, but will be allowed to leave in the summer, when his contract expires, if David Platt has found a suitable replacement.

Crossley is one of the highest wage earners at the club a legacy of the deal struck with former City Ground boss Frank Clark. The 30-year-old was set for a lucrative move to Leeds United in 1996 but chose to stay put and sign a deal worth at least 400,000 a year.

Stockmarket rules prevent any member of the Forest board commenting on finances. But a club spokesman said: "A statement for the half-year ending November 30 will be issued to the stockmarket in mid-February.

"Until that point any figures appertaining to turnover and costs for that period would be pure speculation."

Platt is currently scouring Britain and the Continent for a cut-price 'keeper and if his hunt is successful it will spell the end of Crossley's 13-year tenure with Forest. The Welsh international was offered a new deal on reduced terms at the end of last year by Platt. He turned it down and Platt has not reopened negotiations since.

Under the Bosman ruling Crossley was free to talk to foreign clubs from January 1 about a possible move. Sheffield Wednesday and two other Premier League clubs are monitoring the situation should Crossley be allowed to leave before his contract is up.

Petrachi On His Way: Gianluca Petrachi is being linked with a move back to his native Italy and possibly former club Perugia after failing to make his mark at Forest. The winger was one of David Platt's first signings after becoming the manager at The City Ground last summer, but he could now become the second of the trio of Italians who signed up to leave the club before the end of a full season.

Petrachi has struggled to make any serious impact at first team level and is now being linked with a move back to his roots of Serie A, the Italian transfer window has opened recently and it is rumoured that Platt is ready to cut his losses and let the Italian go. The winger was valued at 1.4 million when he linked up in Nottingham and the board would hope to recoup most of that if they decided that selling him was the best way to go.

'Luca' would be joining Moreno Mannini in leaving before the end of the season, Mannini was the free transfer out of the trio that signed but he announced retirement from the game last week after struggling to come back from injury.

January 20 2000

Dougie's Going Nowhere: Reading have expressed an interest in landing striker Dougie Freedman but David Platt says he won't be going anywhere.

There were reports on Thursday morning suggesting that Freedman was due to complete a 400,000 switch to the Madejski Stadium at some point today, but the speculation has proved premature.

The speculation was that Reading tried to set up a swap deal involving Freedman and Darren Caskey, however, Platt has dismissed any interest in the former Tottenham star.

January 19 2000

Royals Want Dougie: There is Growing speculation linking Dougie Freedman with a player plus cash swap for Reading midfielder Darren Caskey.

Though I find this odd, as at the moment David Platt's priority seems to be to bring in another striker to help bolster the under-performing Forest front line. Getting rid of one (the highest scorer as well) seems a strange move to say the least.

January 16 2000

Lester Is New target: David Platt, after becoming disillusioned with the way the Martin Smith deal is going, is now rumoured to have turned his attentions on Grimsby striker Jack Lester, who scored against Forest on Saturday.

Lester is in exactly the same position as Smith, his contract expires in the summer and he has told Grimsby that he is leaving. Grimsby, being more realistic than Sheffield United, have decided to cash in on the player before they lose him for nothing and they are looking for a fee of around £250,000.

January 13 2000

Hopes Of Smith Deal fade: Sheffield United increased their efforts to keep striker Martin Smith by offering him an increased contract offer.

The Blades boss, Neil Warnock, is now waiting for an answer from Smith whose current deal runs out at the end of the season. Warnock said: "We have put in another good offer to Martin but obviously he has got a number of irons in the fire and it is up to him what he wants to do."

January 12 2000

Matrecano Sets Comeback Target: Salvatore Matrecano has set himself a target of a return to action in March despite fears that he was out for the season with ligament damage. The Italian defender picked up the injury during Forest's first away win at Port Vale in October and returned to Italy to recover from the operation on cruciate ligament trouble .

Matrecano will now get back to light training in Nottingham and he commented: "The knee is okay. I hope that in 20 days it will be possible to play again. Football in Nottingham has not been very good for me so far, but I think in the future it can be a lot better. I want to be playing again because it is my life."

January 11 2000

Mattsson On Comeback trail: Jesper Mattsson has not played a game at any level this season, after undergoing a knee operation in the summer. However, he has finally hit the comeback trail after resuming light training yesterday. If thing go well he will be given the go ahead to up his training schedule in the next two weeks.

January 10 2000

Watford After Edwards: Watford are rumoured to be targeting Forest defender Christian Edwards.

Edwards, valued at £500,000, has just recovered from a knee operation and has been told by Platt that he has no part to play in his current plans at The City Ground.

Edwards is also being tracked by Q.P.R. and Bristol City.

Forest May Miss Out On Smith: It looks like Forest could miss out on Sheffield United's want-away striker Martin Smith because the two clubs can't agree a fee.

The Blades want £400,000 for Smith, who is out of contract in the summer. This figure is made up of £300,00 now and £100,000 if Forest ever gain promotion. The City Ground board, however, will only allow David Platt £200,000 to spend after he has spent £16 million on transfers and wages since he took over in the summer.

January 9 2000

Forest to Co-own TV Channel: Aston Villa are leading a consortium of six Midlands clubs who plan to launch their own TV channel before the end of the season.

Secret talks are at an advanced stage for an MUTV style operation covering games, training ground interviews, news and up-to the minute features.

Villa, Coventry, Leicester, Wolves, Birmingham and Nottm. Forest will all share the station which will be available to digital subscribers. By using the new technology, several matches can be shown live at the same time, even if they all kick-off at the same time.

Carlton approached the clubs several months ago. The TV giants will take 30% of the profits with the six clubs sharing the remaining 70%.

Last night a Carlton spokesman said: "We are surprised this has come out. Nothing has been decided yet, but there have been talks."

All sorts of advertising possibilities will be opened up by the channels arrival.

A source close to the talks revealed: "The big attraction is the clubs don't have to pay out anything and can expect to start earning from day one."

"It's the icing on top of the Sky TV deal. Everybody is convinced it will be terrific for fans, who will be offered very competitive subscription rates."

January 7 2000

Hjelde Out : Despite the earlier good news that Platt was set to name an unchanged squad for the trip to the manor ground, it now looks like another injury will force him to make changes. Jon Olav Hjelde limped out of today's training session with a calf injury. Hjelde is considered doubtful for tomorrow's game, but Platt is expected to leave the final decision until shortly before the game.

Forest Unchanged : Early indications are that David Platt is set to name an unchanged team for the trip to the Manor Ground tomorrow. The good news earlier in the week was that four players had now returned from the treatment table and had taken up full time training. However, the four, Alan Rogers, Gianluca Petrachi, Louis-Jean and Thierry Bonalair are still some way off full match fitness and are therefore, unlikely to take any part in Saturday's fixture.

January 6 2000

Doig Blow: It looks like Chris Doig is the latest Forest casualty to join the queues for the treatment table. The teenager twisted an ankle in training last week and was forced to miss Monday's trip to face Charlton, where Forest crashed to a 3-0 defeat. The injury is not too serious and is responding to treatment, but Doig is unlikely to be in the squad for the trip to Oxford on Saturday.

January 4 2000

Striker Deal Hits Snag: It looks like Forest's attempts to land Sheffield United striker Martin Smith have hit a major snag. Sheffield United have revealed that they won't sell the striker until they have found a replacement.

Platt is even more desperate to find a striker in view of today's news that he is likely to lose Stern John for up to three weeks in February when he is called up to play for Trinidad and Tobago in the Confederation Gold Cup.

Barnsley Deny Freedman Rumour: After the earlier rumours linking Dave Bassett with a move for Dougie Freedman Barnsley have seen fit to issue a denial of any approach for the striker.

Bassett Wants Freedman: Rumours surfaced yesterday that Dave Bassett is interested in taking out-of-favour striker Dougie Freedman to Barnsley. Bassett has already been back to Forest several times since he took over at Barnsley to pick up players he bought for Forest. His current collection of ex-Forest players includes Geoff Thomas, Neil Shipperley and Steve Chettle.

It was Dave Bassett who originally bought Dougie Freedman to Forest in a £950,000 deal from Crystal Palace at the beginning of last season.

Newcastle Still Interested In Prutton: Things appear to be hotting up again on the rumour front now that everybody has returned to work after the break. The popular rumour at the moment involving Forest canters around young midfielder David Prutton and Newcastle's alleged interest in him. A couple of tabloid papers and one or two Internet sites are linking Bobby Robson with a move for the youngster in the very near future.

Forest will probably be very reluctant to let the youngster go and may set a high asking price to put off any enquiries.

 


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