Nottingham Forest have suffered a major setback ahead of their Premier League return after Brice Samba informed the club he will not be signing a new contract and intends to leave this summer.
The Congo-born goalkeeper accumulated 45 appearances across all competitions last season and was integral to his team reaching the English top division for the first time since 1999.
But Samba is approaching the final 12 months of the deal he agreed when joining from Caen for an undisclosed fee in 2019 and Forest only recently made their move to extend those terms, through a proposal that is believed to have been deemed by the 28-year. -old as unacceptable.
Samba’s decision to turn down the offer and reluctantly seek an exit is said not to be financially motivated but about respect for his achievements, importance and popularity at the City Ground.
The former Le Havre and Marseille stopper has become a favorite among fans and is known to have formed a strong affinity with both Forest and Nottingham, where his two children were born.
Having played such a key role in Steve Cooper’s men securing promotion, Samba is likely to have been central to their chances of competing alongside the country’s elite in the 2022-23 campaign.
It is an opportunity he is thought to have been relishing before the contract situation developed — however, unless Forest can change his mind, they will need to choose between selling Samba in the impending transfer window or keeping an unhappy player until he walks away for free in 2023.
Forest told The Athletic that talks are taking place and it is understood they remain determined to keep hold of a highly-regarded member of their squad. That view is shared by Cooper, who has an excellent relationship with Samba.
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