Forest 'chaos' as Pearce denies he will walk out over transfers
Did the sale of two of the club's brightest stars go through without the knowledge of new manager?
Nottingham Forest fans dreaming of glory under new manager Stuart Pearce have had a rude awakening on the eve of the new Championship season, after it was claimed that two of the club's brightest young stars had been sold without his knowledge and that their returning hero had to insist he was not about to quit in protest.
Pearce, who has yet to preside over a competitive game in his second stint as Forest boss, has now become embroiled in a public row with Forest's Kuwaiti owners over the sale of Jamaal Lascelles and Karl Darlow to Newcastle for around £7m earlier this week.
Lascalles, 20, is a highly-regarded England Under-20 defender who was linked with a move to Arsenal in January, while 23-year-old goalkeeper Darlow made the Forest number one jersey his own last season. Both signed long-term contracts last season.
Their sale has caused "chaos" at the City Ground, even though Newcastle have agreed to loan them back to Forest this season, according to the Daily Mail. It adds that Pearce will seek talks with owner Fawaz al-Hasawi this week, noting that the Kuwaiti "was forced to deny accusations that he would meddle in team affairs when Pearce was unveiled back in April".
The Times says that the sale of the two players has left Pearce "disenchanted", particularly as he felt they were undervalued. He has even been forced to deny rumours that he was on the verge of quitting
"Tellingly for Fawaz Al-Hasawi, the Forest owner, however, there was also a warning from Pearce that he will not remain silent should a similar situation occur in the future even if he doesn’t believe the current breakdown in relations is irreparable," says the paper.
And Pearce told the Nottingham Post that he would not "fluff" what went on behind the scenes at the club and stated bluntly: "Two players were sold against my will."
However, the Daily Star reports that Hasawi disputes that and has "slammed" Pearce, insisting that the former Forest legend was "aware of negotiations throughout". Hasawi added: "Sadly for me, there is no room for sentimentality in the running of a football club and it is up to me to start making some tough decisions to preserve the long-term sustainability of Nottingham Forest."
With clubs now circling over other key Forest figures, including Simon Cox and Henri Lansbury, the Nottingham Post says relations between Pearce and Hasawi are "not healthy". It adds: "There is no question the optimistic mood... has been dented a little".