Brice Samba has reportedly shocked Nottingham Forest and Steve Cooper by revealing his desire to leave the club this summer.
Samba made 45 appearances for Forest in the recently concluded season, keeping 16 clean sheets. He put in some top performances to help the Reds gain promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs.
Arguably the goalkeeper’s best display came against Sheffield United in the second leg of the play-off semi-final.
He did brilliantly to prevent Iliman Ndiaye from scoring the winner in extra time. The 28-year-old then denied Oli Norwood, Conor Hourihane and Morgan Gibbs-White in the subsequent penalty shoot-out to send Nottingham Forest to Wembley.
Samba kept a clean sheet against Huddersfield Town in the play-off final as Cooper’s men completed a stunning season by securing promotion back to the top flight. They will play in the Prem next season for the first time since 1998-99.
Many would have been expecting Samba to remain in goal ready for next season, following such promotion heroics.
But that might not be the case. According to The Athletic reporter David Ornstein, Samba has told Forest officials of his desire to move on.
His current contract runs until 2023 and Forest recently offered him an extension.
Brice Samba disappointed by contract offer
But the report states Samba felt it was too late. He feels undervalued and disappointed with the contract offer, and is now pushing for an exit.
It is a major turn of events. Samba is loved by the club’s fans and has a strong connection with the city. His two children have been born there during his spell at Forest.
However, he feels under appreciated, as shown by the length of time it took Forest to put a new deal on the table.
It must be noted Samba’s decision isn’t really about the money, but more him feeling undervalued. His clean sheets have been integral to Forest turning things around under Cooper, just like the form of Brennan Johnson and Djed Spence.
The East Midlands club must now decide whether to come back with improved terms or admit defeat and sell Samba. The best time to sell would be this summer so they can get a decent fee.
Ornstein reinforces Cooper’s strong relationship with Samba. This could be key in getting the shot-stopper to change his mind.
But as things stand, the Congo-born star appears set to play for another team after such a strong exit request.
The update comes as a big surprise, especially as Samba has the opportunity to play in the Prem next term.
But maybe he thinks outfield stars such as Johnson and Ryan Yates have been given too many plaudits in comparison to him.
If Forest are forced into letting him go, then there will be plenty of clubs queueing up to sign Samba. They just need to look at his most recent performance against Sheffield United for inspiration.
Meanwhile, a report has detailed which team feels they are winning the race to sign Spence from Middlesbrough.