Nuno Espirito Santo has given little away about the future of Orel Mangala amid the prospect of a potential January exit for the Nottingham Forest midfielder.
Trimming numbers was always going to be the Reds’ priority this month, even before Nuno expressed a wish to work with a smaller squad. And being charged with breaching the Premier League’s Profitability and Sustainability rules has only sharpened the club’s focus.
Their aim is to end the window having made a small profit when it comes to the balance between selling and buying. Mangala could be one of the players they let go as part of that.
The Belgian signed from Stuttgart in the summer of 2022 for a fee of £12.75 million. He had been a regular under former boss Steve Cooper, but has found game time hard to come by since Nuno’s appointment.
“Like all the players, we have to be ready for everything,” Nuno said when asked about Mangala’s situation. “There will be ins and outs.
“Orel is part of the group and is training well. Let’s see if he plays against Blackpool or not.
“When I arrived he was playing and now he’s not. He is a professional and in this situation he is working very hard and preparing for the matches. We will just have to wait and see.
“All the players in the squad we have been looking at. I’ve said from the beginning, we are trying to get to know them better and we are trying to provide opportunities for everyone so we can really evaluate them well.”
Mangala started Nuno’s first game in charge, but was hooked at half-time as the Reds lost 3-2 to Bournemouth. His only minutes since then came as a late substitute in the victory over Manchester United, although he might get an opportunity in tonight’s FA Cup replay with the Seasiders at Bloomfield Road.
The 25-year-old has caught the eye of Italian sides Juventus and Napoli, while reports from Turkey suggested Galatasaray had submitted an offer. If the right bid comes in, it could prove difficult for Forest to turn down.
As they look to make some money this month and show the Premier League they are taking this week’s charge seriously, the club recognise Morgan Gibbs-White and Murillo are their most saleable assets. But the duo are also two of Nuno’s most important players; letting them go would be detrimental to the cause on the pitch so cashing-in is not a route the Reds are expected to go down.
It is likely to then fall on the likes of Mangala to possibly help bring in some cash. The Reds have already offloaded Gustavo Scarpa to Atletico Mineiro for £4m and Andrey Santos’ loan spell was cut short, but more outgoings will follow before the February 1 deadline.