Once bitten, twice shy as the saying goes. And Nottingham Forest fans are used to vultures taking an almighty chunk out of their squad, stripping away any remaining morsels of quality.
Therefore, you could forgive them for not taking owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi at face value when he claimed that the club had no interest in entertaining the potential departure of 17-year-old prodigy Ben Brereton, as reported by The Mirror.
After all, Forest fans have been duped by almost identical claims in the past. Karl Darlow, Jamaal Lascelles and, most recently, Oliver Burke were also apparently ‘off the market’.
Yet, while Forest lurch from crisis to crisis, Darlow and Lascelles are lording it up at the top with Newcastle, albeit combining to produce a howler worthy of a Bradley Walsh presented stocking-filler in midweek, while Burke could be playing Champions League football with Leipzig next season.
The Mirror report that Liverpool had a £2.5 million bid for Brereton rejected in January but, in the weeks since, the teenager opened his senior account with a dramatic late winner against Aston Villa before scoring again away at Fulham.
Two goals in four professional appearances will not shift the decimal place of his asking price but even a slightly higher fee could be difficult to turn down in the summer.
Especially after Sky Sports stated that the club still owes Al-Hasawi £55 million with an official statement claiming that player sales could be used to ‘mitigate any potential funding shortfall’.
The chances of Brereton reaching adulthood at the City ground seem slim.
Probably best not to get excited about Brereton. He'll be sold for a packet of nik naks and a shiny 50p in the summer #nffc— Alex Grimshaw (@Sievenarine) February 15, 2017
I really hope we can get some fair value on field from Brereton before Fawaz inevitably cashes in. #NFFC— OwenBabyBull23 (@OwenBabyBull23) February 15, 2017
Fawaz will be happy to just get Ben Brereton off the wage bill. For that reason I'm going to guess he leaves on a free #nffc— Tom (@NFFCTom) February 15, 2017