Nottingham Forest are the latest English club to fall foul of the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules (PSR).

Under the PSR, Premier League clubs are permitted to lose £105 million ($179 million CAD) over a three-year period. However, because Forest spent two seasons of the most recent financial cycle in the Championship, their losses are capped at £61 million, equating to £13 million in each of 2020-21 and 2021-22 and £35 million last season. While the exact numbers of Forest’s losses have not been revealed, the charge is that they exceeded that.

It’s easy to see how that may have happened.

Since promotion from the Championship through the playoffs in 2022, Forest have spent about £250 million ($427 million CAD) on 43 players. In that time, they have had few saleable assets.

Their biggest sale by a huge margin was Tottenham Hotspur’s signing of Brennan Johnson on deadline day last September for £47.5 million ($81.1 million CAD). But that sale came more than two months after the EPL’s June 30 cut-off point for complying with PSR.

Forest’s defence in their case is reportedly that they delayed the sale of Johnson to ensure they received the highest price possible for their academy graduate, whose fee would be deemed pure profit in PSR terms. At the start of last summer, Forest received multiple formal offers of about £30 million but held out for more. The Premier League club are arguing that it was better for their long-term health to maximize their profit and make them more sustainable.

A decision in the case is expected by mid-April at the latest. Forest could be in line for the kind of points deduction we’ve already seen imposed on Everton this season.

But now for the Canadian question: what could this all mean for Richie Laryea?

The Canada star spent the latter months of 2023 on loan at Vancouver Whitecaps from Forest after having previously been on loan at Toronto FC. But the ‘Caps were unable to strike a permanent or a view-to-a-permanent deal last summer because of deadline day time constraints.

Earlier this month, CEO and sporting director Axel Schuster admitted that the CanMNT full-back is unlikely to return to Vancouver for 2024 because Forest are “not open to letting him go for a price that would make this deal possible. Within the limits we have and the expectations Nottingham have, it will not be possible to make him an offer that is worthwhile for him to give up the contract he has there.”

As reported by The Athletic’s Tom Bogert, the murky MLS rules around free agents prohibit Laryea from being a DP. He is technically listed as a free agent by the league despite being under contract at Forest. Nobody quite seems to know why, but that means he is subjected to MLS free-agency rules which limit a salary offer to a maximum of $1.76 million USD ($2.37 million CAD).

Schuster has said that the cap restraints are actually not the issue; it is Forest’s valuation that is the problem.

But that was then and this is now. Could that change in the wake of Forest’s charges?

One very obvious potential way for Forest to ease their financial turmoil is to sell players. They have no shortage of them, after all.

Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo suggested on Tuesday that the club cannot sign any more players without selling some first, and John Percy of the Telegraph reports that Orel Mangala, Joe Worrall, Scott McKenna, Andrew Omobamidele, Felipe, Serge Aurier, and Ethan Horvath could all be offloaded this month, either on loan or permanently, while the loans of Arsenal’s Nuno Tavares and AC Milan’s Divock Origi will be reviewed.

There is no mention of Laryea which, sadly enough, is quite possibly indicative of the fact that almost everyone in England has forgotten he is actually a Forest player. But he still has 17 months remaining on his contract at the City Ground, until June 2025.

A deal for Laryea to return to Vancouver still seems unlikely at this stage. But savvy negotiators like Schuster and other clubs’ sporting directors will likely be leaning on Forest during this time of turmoil to see if a cut-price deal can be done.

Selling Laryea, who earns £25,000 ($43,000 CAD) per week at Forest, according to Capology, would allow beleaguered Forest to get a fee for the Canadian, offload his wages (those numbers put Laryea in the lower half of Forest’s earnings table), and go some way to easing their concerns.

After all, as he’ll enter the last year of his contract next summer, Laryea is unlikely to be as valuable next summer as he is now, so a quick deal for a player who doesn’t register in the minds of Forest’s staff or fans would likely be the best solution.

The flip-side possibility, of course, is that Forest brace for a points penalty and a potential relegation, starting selling off their highest-value and highest-earning players, and look to retain solid dependables like Laryea for a possible season in the second tier next term.

In the meantime, reports suggest that Laryea will continue to keep his options open. We will likely know more, one way or another, by the end of January.