Forest owner defends deals

  • By: Chris Burton
  • Last Updated: August 5 2014, 15:53 BST

Nottingham Forest owner Fawaz Al Hasawi has justified a double sale and expressed a desire to keep Henri Lansbury.

Fawaz Al Hasawi: Nottingham Forest owner
Fawaz Al Hasawi: Nottingham Forest owner

The decision to let highly-rated duo Jamaal Lascelles and Karl Darlow link up with Newcastle United has been met with criticism from manager Stuart Pearce and disgruntled supporters.

Both men will, however, be allowed to spend the 2014/15 campaign on loan at the City Ground and Al Hasawi believes that represents good business, with a fee received and wages taken off the books.

Fawaz Al Hasawi "The manager and I openly discussed the proposed sale of Karl and Jamaal and he was aware of the negotiations throughout. The business side of football is changing and the requirement to increase revenue means, unfortunately, difficult decisions have to be made."
Fawaz Al Hasawi

He fully understands the frustration of those in and around the club but insists he has acted in their best interests.

The Forest supremo has also sought to curb speculation suggesting that former England Under-21 international Lansbury, who has been heavily linked with Burnley, will be the next high-profile figure heading for the exits at the City Ground.

Al Hasawi said in a statement: “I would love nothing more than to hold on to our best young players. I gave both Karl Darlow and Jamaal Lascelles lengthy new contracts in August 2013 and March 2014 respectively, as well as investing in the futures of Jamie Paterson, Ben Osborn and Dimitar Evtimov.

“I have demonstrated my keenness for the club to produce more players of Karl and Jamaal’s quality more than ever this summer, investing heavily in the facilities and supporting Stuart in his desire to integrate our youth set-up with the first team.

“The manager and I openly discussed the proposed sale of Karl and Jamaal and he was aware of the negotiations throughout. The business side of football is changing and the requirement to increase revenue means, unfortunately, difficult decisions have to be made. As Stuart mentioned in his media interview, I have always backed him financially and that will continue. I respect him greatly and I strongly believe together we can achieve our aims and bring success back to this great club.

“Should the pair’s proposed move to Newcastle be completed as expected, the transfer fees will significantly help us meet the stringent financial fair play (FFP) criteria, all the while allowing us to retain two high-quality players for the 2014-15 season, paying nothing towards their wages.

“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.

Fawaz Al Hasawi "He rejected my offer of a new contract earlier this year but that deal remains on the table. He has two more years to run on his current contract and we hope he will play a huge part for us this season. It is now time for Henri to make his decision."
Fawaz Al Hasawi

“But while balancing the books is a hugely significant part of my role, it remains my job to ensure the manager has the best possible squad to work with as we pursue a place in the Premier League. Rest assured, therefore, that more additions will be made and the squad will be trimmed further to ensure we have a balanced and talented group of players in place.

“I would also like to address two other points of interest, the first of which concerns the future of Henri Lansbury.

“Clearly he is a talented player who we don’t want to lose. He rejected my offer of a new contract earlier this year but that deal remains on the table. He has two more years to run on his current contract and we hope he will play a huge part for us this season. It is now time for Henri to make his decision.

“Finally, there has been much speculation over the potential renaming of The City Ground in line with a new sponsorship deal.

“I respect the club, fans and stadium too much to make drastic changes to the name of the ground. However, should an offer which, again, would help me meet financial fair play (FFP) criteria arise, I would be open to making a slight change to the stadium name. I know many of you understand and support my point of view on this but I am keen to put my stance on the subject in writing.

“I will continue to back Stuart with the finance he requires to build a team capable of success.

“Come on you Reds."