Will Al Hasawi fulfil promise and bring Kuwait stars to Nottingham Forest?
Now that Fawaz Al Hasawi has completed his purchase of Nottingham Forest, many fans are wondering what exactly it means for the club – not least as his first move as owner was to dispense with the services of manager Steve Cotterill.
Looking at it from the Middle Eastern angle, though, what does the acquisition mean for Kuwaiti football?
It is six weeks since Al Hasawi first announced on Kuwaiti television his intention of buying an English team, an interview that was subsequently combed over by fans of numerous clubs hoping for clues as to its identity.
Now that we all know it's Nottingham Forest, one portion of that interview is perhaps worth revisiting. When asked about the likelihood of Kuwaiti players appearing in England, Al Hasawi replied: “There is no doubt that if the club accept, I am going to introduce Kuwaiti players.”
Of course, that could have been basic ingratiation, trying to suggest to a domestic audience that there was some benefit to Kuwaiti money taking flight for the East Midlands. But speculation is already linking Nottingham Forest with some of the current stars of Kuwaiti football.
Here are the players we think are the most likely to get a call from the Hasawi family:
Bader Mutawwa (27), forward
Considered the best Kuwaiti player of his generation, second-striker Mutawwa has appeared 118 times for his country, scoring 39 goals. He has already played in both Qatar and Saudi and is known to be keen to want to test himself in tougher leagues. In 2006, he was runner-up in the Asian Footballer of the Year awards. A genuine talent.
Hamad Aman (22), midfield
One of the brightest talents in Kuwait, Aman has recently broken through into the Kuwaiti national team having returned from a spell with Oman’s Al Dhofar. Noted for his intelligence and creativity, he might need strength and conditioning work, but no doubt has the ablity to succeed in Europe.
Firas al-Khatib (29), striker
The Syrian striker might be a little long in the tooth to be learning the demands of the English league, but he has long been the class act of the Kuwaiti league – first with al-Arabi and latterly with Qadsia. Indeed, he seems to be expecting the call, saying to Al Arabiya that he is set to fly to the UK on Sunday to join his new team.
Khaled al-Rashidi (25), goalkeeper
The Al-Arabi stopper has been a regular part of the national set-up since 2006 and his name has already been linked to Nottingham Forest, with a club Tweet suggesting that he is set to link up with the club this summer to gain experience. His Wikipedia page already suggests he's a Forest player, although that is worth about as much as the paper it's not written on.