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A turbulent 24 hours brings more transfer frustration at Nottingham Forest

Tuesday 9th August 2011
It seemed Forest had begun to turn a corner in the transfer market, after Saturday's 0-0 draw with Barnsley highlighted the need for a big striker and a cutting edge winger. Strong links began to emerge that Ishmael Miller of West Brom and long term target Wesley Verhoek, currently playing in Holland with ADO Den Haag, were to come to the City Ground for talks over possible deals.

West Brom manager Roy Hodgson confirmed that Ishmael Miller's likely destination was Nottingham Forest, after the club had a £2million bid accepted for the striker. Steve McClaren confirmed that the club are waiting to talk with the player, having negotiated on a fee. All being well, these talks will take place later this week and a deal can be struck with the player. The sticking point will obviously be wages, as the player has been in the Premier League, it is likely he must take a wage cut and the conservative Forest won't be splashing excessive amounts of money.

However, the real blow Forest have suffered is in regards to Wesley Verhoek. The Dutch winger was flown in to Nottingham with his family on Monday to look around the clubs training facilities and the ground. There were even pictures posted on Facebook of him outside the tunnel as well as one with him stood beneath one of Forest's European Cup. Apparently, Verhoek was even interviewed by a Dutch television station during his visit. Forest confirmed that a fee had been agreed and personal terms were to be negotiated, and everything looked rather positive.
But it was first confirmed in the Dutch press and later by the ADO Den Haag official website that the deal had fallen through and the player was experiencing homesickness. This sparked uproar of Twitter speculation and conspiracy theories as to what had actually happened. It was then confirmed by Nottingham Forest that a deal “had fallen through at the 11th hour, as the player told the club he was not prepared to leave Holland.” This was in stark contrast to his apparent burning ambition to further his career with a move abroad, with his heart set on England or Scotland.

This adds to the frustration that Steve McClaren has already experienced in the transfer market. McClaren had previously flown over to Holland to watch Verhoek play, and also developed a good relationship during his time managing FC Twente. While many will be quick to blame the Forest board and say it is a smokescreen for poor wages being offered, there is not much the club hierarchy could have done here. We must take their word for it, and I believe them.They invited him over, gave him a tour and sat down for talks which seemed positive. What more could they have done?

In an official club statement from Forest, Verhoek was said to have described the club and the facilities as “fantastic”, but he was missing home after just one day in England. Chief Executive Mark Arthur said: “we have no alternative but to respect Wesley's decision.”

The failure to sign Verhoek is not the fault of the board or the club, if a player is unhappy, then a deal can't be done. Forest must move on quickly and they may do so in the shape of Fulham winger Keanu Marsh-Brown, who has been linked with a loan move to Forest, or even free agent Matt Derbyshire, whose name has been linked with the club.

Overall, there is a huge sense of disappointment amongst Forest fans and there will be at the club too as it appears Nigel Doughty, Mark Arthur and Steve McClaren worked very hard to bring the winger to The City Ground. Verhoek seemed like an excellent talent and real top draw signing. Let's just hope we don't see him in the headlines signing for an English or Scottish club before the end of August. Personally, I believe a move abroad would have benefitted a young man with bags of talent, we've seen lots of players move to England from abroad to fulfil their potential, and plenty of them have come from the Eredivisie.

No doubt McClaren's frustrations will have grown following the collapse of the deal, but it's something that the club can't be blamed for this time around. They have been let down by a player who changed his mind and becoming homesick after just one day in England, something out of Forest's control. They must pick themselves up and still acknowledge that despite this unfortunate outcome, players are still needed and they must move onto Plan C, after failing to sign Wayne Routledge and now Wesley Verhoek.

Written by James Bolton

Follow me on Twitter - @Bolton0301
James Bolton

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