Yohan Benalouane has emphatically quashed speculation suggesting that he could be heading out of Nottingham Forest.

Turkish news outlet Fanatik had claimed that the defender was a target for Fenerbahce.

Such a link was not all that surprising.

In many ways, the no-nonsense Tunisian could be considered perfect for a fresh start in Istanbul.

He has, however, brought the rumours to a close.

Benalouane has stated in a post on social media: “To answer all your messages guys, I feel really good in the Forest family, I love our atmosphere, stadium & supporters.

“My target is to come back in the Premier League and make the story here with Forest & I feel really like at home so I will go NOWHERE ELSE.

“Here I am & here I stay!!!! #redsforever #coyr. I can’t wait to come back.”

Benalouane is currently sidelined and unable to play any part for the Reds.

A hip complaint has been causing him problems and forced him under the knife.

Operation

Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi has said in the Nottingham Post: “Benalouane had an operation on his back, so he will be with us after a few months. I hope very soon.

“It is a big loss for us as a player, as a man, as a leader.”

Those are not the words of a coach looking to move a player out.

If Benalouane is considered to be ‘a leader’, then why would the exit door be opened?

Maybe because Forest have far too many players on their books.

Plenty of those are capable of slotting in at centre-half.

Even when fully fit, it is difficult to see how Benalouane will see regular game time.

He made an immediate impact after arriving in January, with his derby-winning exploits while donning a protective facemask set to live long in the memory.

That outing may remain the undoubted highlight of his spell on Trentside.

Experience

 

It is, however, refreshing to hear a player committing themselves fully to the Forest cause.

If Benalouane wants to stick around and add depth to the centre-half pool, then why should he be denied that opportunity?

He has experience to pass on and quality to push those ahead of him in the pecking order to greater heights.

Given the numbers on board at the City Ground, there certainly should be no resting on laurels from those occupying starting berths.

The flip side to this coin is that Benalouane’s statement is little more than smoke and mirrors.

After all, a winter switch would be a more likely option for a player currently sidelined.

Proving himself to be fully recovered from surgery will make him a more appealing prospect to would-be suitors.

A deal could even still be done before European windows close this summer.

Just because the 32-year-old has come out and said he wants to stay does not guarantee that he will be granted that wish.

His desire to play a part, however small, in returning Forest to the Premier League is worth noting, though, and is a mindset that many more around him will hopefully be adopting.