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.”
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Michael Bastos scored an early contender for Goal of the Season in Ligue 1 and then admitted he doesn’t know what the future holds as he continues to be linked with a move to UAE giants Al Ain.
The Lyon winger has been the subject of much transfer speculation in recent weeks with Pro League champions, Al Ain, keen to bring him to the Emirates.
However, the 29-year-old admitted afterwards he is still in the dark over his future with Sport360° understanding long-time suitors Al Ain are reluctant to push through a deal until the future of their own star Omar Abdulrahman is resolved.
The 20-year-old Emirati has spent the past fortnight on trial with Manchester City, and Al Ain are waiting to see if the Premier League champions will sign the playmaker on permanent basis, before proceeding with their own transfer plans.
“I do not know yet if I will stay,” Bastos told French radio station RMC. “It is possible that I will remain and it is also possible that I leave.
“I had a proposal that interests me. The only thing is that I want it resolved soon because the current situation is not good for me or for my family.”
Bastos had appeared certain to leave Los Gones, for whom he joined from Lille in a €18million deal in 2009, earlier this summer after being publicly criticised by Lyon president Jean Michel Aulas for a perceived lack of effort.
However, his recent remarks suggest all may not be lost at Lyon and he could yet remain in France should a deal, reported to be worth €9million, fail to materialise with Al Ain in the coming days.
Judging from his senational goal on Saturday, though, there is no doubt he’d be a welcome addition to the Pro League and an Al Ain side with their sights firmly set on AFC Champions League glory next season.
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?