Everyone connected with Nottingham Forest is eager to see Joe Lolley remain at the club, but exit talk has been sparked once more.

The Daily Mail are among those to be fanning the flames.

It is claimed that a boyhood Aston Villa fan is back on the radar of the Premier League new boys.

Such speculation should hardly come as a surprise.

Lolley has been linked with a return to his roots in the past.

He has, on the whole, paid little attention to the gossip.

Instead, a long-term contract has been penned at the City Ground.

Those terms were agreed in the understanding that all concerned intended to honour them.

A mere matter of months later, it is being suggested that they could be torn up.

Creative

Original Image: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

A £10 million fee has been mooted.

For many, that is nowhere near enough for the Reds’ most creative influence.

Those in the stands, though, are not paid to take such decisions.

If a formal approach is made, then Evangelos Marinakis and those behind the scenes will make the ultimate call.

Forest have history when it comes to parting with prized assets.

The hope was that those days were over.

Nerves are now being shredded once more.

Admiring

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Even if admiring glances from Villa can be fended off this summer, the Reds have been warned that more will follow.

Especially if they fail to deliver the Premier League football that everybody craves.

Former Reds striker Grant Holt has told the Nottingham Post of the Lolley talk: “You’ve got to hang on to him.

“If you want to achieve anything; if you want to achieve promotion, you’ve got to hang on to players like that.

“Sometimes you’ve got to sacrifice the money to keep good players in the building.

“If you’re really serious about getting promotion, you can’t let someone like Joe Lolley leave the club.

“It’s different if you have to let him go, if you need the money; but if you can afford to keep him, that’s what you’ve got to do.”

Risk

 

Grant added on Lolley and the risk Forest are running: “He was fantastic last season and he’s still learning.

“People don’t realise, when you come to different clubs and go to different places, you keep learning. He’s still learning about things, so can keep improving.

“But he still had a brilliant season, and his consistency stood out. I really hope he goes on to do great things.

“If Forest don’t get up there next year, there’s always the risk of going somewhere else.”

As things stand, the City Ground faithful would happily take their chances with another 12 months.

O’Neill’s side are unquestionably better placed to mount a promotion push with Lolley on board.

Attracting interest from afar is no bad thing.

In many ways it should be taken as a complement.

Just as long as things go no further than that!