Contradictory to earlier reports emanating from Kuwait, it has now been confirmed that Nottingham Forest have failed in their bid to be granted work permits for Bader Al-Mutawa, Khalid Al-Rashidi and Hussain Fadel.
The Kuwaiti trio have all spent time on trial at the City Ground over the past month following the Championship club’s takeover by the Al Hasawi family.
All three players impressed Forest boss Sean O’Driscoll enough for the club to explore the possibility of gaining work permits as they looked to sign them on a permament basis.
However, Forest owner Fawaz Al Hasawi confirmed via his official Twitter account that the FA had turned down the club’s request: “After a lengthy meeting with the Committee hearing the FA refuse to approve the granting of Kuwaiti players recommendation on a work permit.”
Al Hasawi went on to thank the players for their efforts and Kuwaiti top-flight side FC Qadsia for allowing Forest to take a closer look at their players.
Work-permit regulations in the United Kingdom require incoming players to represent one of the top 70 countries in FIFA rankings and the player must have played 75 per cent of their national team’s competitive games in the past two years.
Unfortunately Al-Mutawa, Al-Rashidi and Fadel did not fulfil these criteria due to Kuwait being ranked 96th by FIFA.
It’s a bitter blow for all three, especially Al-Mutawa, widely regarded as Kuwait’s best ever player, after it had been claimed that he was to be granted a permit.
However, the 27-year-old, hailed by Al Hasawi as the “second best player in Asia”, will now return to his homeland just weeks after speaking of his delight at linking up with Forest.
“It’s a great honour to be trialling at Nottingham Forest,” Al-Mutawa told the club’s official website.
“The club’s reputation for attractive football is well known in the Middle East, and it’s exciting to be coming here when a new manager is looking to play the kind of football that I want to be part of.”
There was plenty to marvel over as both the Premier League and La Liga roared back into life after their summer holidays, not least the quality of goals scored throughout Europe.
Here, Sport360°, picks our top five of the weekend. But do you agree with our selections?
4. Richard Brittain – ROSS COUNTY v Celtic, SPL
A beautifully flighted freekick that looked too close for Brittain to get up and down gave the Highlanders a shock lead over the champions. Kris Common spared the Celt’s blushes with an equaliser in injury-time.
3. Arda Turan – Levante v ATLETICO MADRID, La Liga
Three touches gave the Turkish international space before his outswinging drive curled away from the keeper and into the top corner. Stunning striker to rescue a point for Atletico in their La Liga opener.
2. Michel Bastos – LYON v Troyes, Ligue 1
The Brazilian winger, a target for Pro League champions Al Ain, showcased his athleticism with a fine bicycle kick as he was backing away from goal. Trevor Sinclair would be proud.
1. Zoltan Gera – WEST BROM v Liverpool, Premier League
The Hungarian controlled a high ball with his chest before his 20-yard half volley flew into the top corner to send the Hawthorns into raptures and Liverpool on their way to a 3-0 humbling.
Let us know your favourite? Have we got our top five in order? Or, have we missed any out from the weekend’s action?
Robin van Persie will not be the only Dutchman joining Manchester United this summer as Vitesse left-back Alexander Büttner closed in on a “dream” move to Old Trafford.
The 23-year-old flew to Manchester on Sunday to undergo a medical and put the finishing touches on a five-year contract with Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.
A fee of around £3 million has reportedly been agreed between the two clubs for the transfer, which would realistically end United’s interest in Everton’s Leighton Baines.
“This is really a dream come true,” Buttner told Dutch TV station Omroep Gelderland. “It was all arranged very quickly and of course I am very delighted. Happily everything is coming to an end.”
If the move were to go through it would cap a remarkable turnaround for the defender, who had looked set to sign for Premier League newcomers, Southampton, before the deal broke down due to a third party demanding part of the transfer fee.
The player’s agent then claimed Fulham, as well as clubs in Germany and France had expressed an interest in the uncapped former-Ajax youth team prospect.
However, it is United who appear to have won the race for the left-back, who scored five goals in 13 appearances last season before being named in Holland’s provisional squad for Euro 2012.