Nottingham Forest after the whistle: Nuno's future, exits, transfer talk and City Ground latest

Nottingham Forest head coach Nuno Espirito Santo
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Little more than a fortnight has passed since Nottingham Forest brought the curtain down on a rollercoaster of a campaign, but it has been far from quiet at the City Ground since.

On May 19, head coach Nuno Espirito Santo, his coaching staff, players and club officials stood in front of the away end at Turf Moor and celebrated safety being secured. Getting over the line had not been easy, but a third successive season in the Premier League was confirmed with a final-day victory over Burnley.

Nuno said he would mark the achievement with a few beers and a day off. In truth, there will have been little time for rest Trentside. Attention will have quickly turned to 2024/25.

READ MORE: 13 Forest exits confirmed as retained list marks start of transfer work

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Forest will want to push on next term. That was supposed to be the goal this time around, but instead the Reds found themselves battling at the bottom end of the table once again.

A big summer awaits. Below, we take a look at what has happened since the final whistle blew on that sunny day in Lancashire.

Exits confirmed

A few days after the 2-1 win over the Clarets, Forest announced some players would be leaving the club. Centre-back Felipe had already indicated he would be hanging up his boots, and it was confirmed goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate would also depart at the end of their contracts.

It was also announced the loan spells of Gio Reyna, Divock Origi, Nuno Tavares, Gonzalo Montiel and Rodrigo Ribeiro had come to an end. In all but the case of Reyna their deals include the potential for the Reds to make their moves permanent, but they opted not to do so.

A couple of weeks later, Forest confirmed Harry Arter, Scott McKenna and Loic Mbe Soh would also leave as free agents this summer. Additionally, academy players Kevin Adueni, Tony Gbopo, Ethan Hull, Ateef Konate, Henry Lister, Elijah Morgan and Theo Robinson have been let go.

Nuno made clear in January he wanted to work with a small group. The club made inroads in trimming numbers during the winter window, and confirmation of their retained list marks the start of the shaping of the Portuguese's squad this summer.

Putting pen to paper

Out of the players whose contracts expire at the end of this month, two have been kept on. Defenders Ola Aina and Willy Boly will both be staying put.

On the same day the departures of Felipe, Kouyate and Hennessey were announced, it was confirmed Boly and Aina were going nowhere. The duo had played key roles in relegation being avoided.

Boly agreed a one-year deal to keep him at the City Ground until the summer of 2025, with the club holding an option for a second year. Forest activated a one-year extension option in Aina’s contract.

Transfer talk

The summer transfer window officially opens on June 14. But since the end of the season, the rumour mill has been in full swing.

Incomings and outgoings are on the horizon in the coming weeks. A significant sale will need to be overseen before the end of this month, with the next Profitability and Sustainability Rules assessment period covering the three years up to June 30.

With that in mind, unsurprisingly, there has been plenty of speculation about prized assets Morgan Gibbs-White and Murillo. The former has been linked with Tottenham Hotspur, among others. The list of clubs tracking Murillo includes Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.

Spurs have also been linked with winger Callum Hudson-Odoi and West Ham United with striker Taiwo Awoniyi, while Sheffield United are keen on Joe Worrall. As for potential targets, names to have done the rounds include midfielders Florentino Luis and Mandela Keita, left-back Bradley Locko, defender Logan Costa and goalkeeper Bento.

Manager speculation

The summer gossip hasn’t just been confined to who could leave and who could arrive Trentside. Head coach Nuno’s future has also been in the spotlight.

The 50-year-old dropped a cryptic comment in his final pre-match press conference of the season. Asked whether he hoped to be part of Evangelos Marinakis’ grand vision for the club, he simply said: “I’m here now.”

Following the clash at Burnley, the rumours then started. Nuno was linked with Bayern Munich before Vincent Kompany’s appointment and was said to have clubs in Portugal and Spain monitoring his situation.

Meanwhile, Forest were said to be looking at ex-Brighton and Hove Albion boss Roberto De Zerbi and Fiorentina’s Vincenzo Italiano. However, the rumours have since died down.

FA charge

Last week, the club were charged by the Football Association for failing to control their fans during the loss to Liverpool in March. The Reds and coach Steven Reid have already been punished by the FA after the 1-0 defeat sparked angry scenes at the final whistle, and Forest have now been sanctioned again.

An FA statement read: “Nottingham Forest FC has been charged with misconduct in relation to crowd control at the Premier League match against Liverpool FC on Saturday 2 March. It’s alleged that Nottingham Forest FC failed to ensure its spectators and/or supporters (and anyone purporting to be supporters or followers) conducted themselves in an orderly fashion; didn’t behave in an improper, threatening or provocative way; and/or didn’t commit any form of pitch incursion. Nottingham Forest FC has until Friday 7 June to respond.”

On the day, Forest were left furious they did not get the ball back, despite having possession when play was stopped for a potential head injury to Ibrahima Konate in the 97th minute of the match. Referee Paul Tierney opted for a drop-ball at the feet of Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher and the visitors went on to win a corner, from which Darwin Nunez scored the winning goal.

Chaotic scenes ensued after the final whistle. Reid was sent off, unused substitute Felipe was booked and owner Evangelos Marinakis was pitchside.

City Ground latest

The saga surrounding the future of the Reds’ home continues to drag on. There has been a standoff between the club and Nottingham City Council - who own the land where the stadium is situated - as talks over rent and a new lease have stalled.

As a result, chairman Tom Cartledge last month admitted alternative sites were being considered. He cited Toton as a potential option, at a location once slated for the now-scrapped HS2 project and on land owned by Nottinghamshire County Council.

However, a statement released by the City Council in early June said talks with Forest were continuing. It read: "Nottingham City Council and Nottingham Forest continue to work together regarding the future of the City Ground.

"Constructive discussions are taking place on a confidential basis. Both the Council and Nottingham Forest will make a statement when these are complete, and we will not be making any further comment until then."

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