Nottingham Forest legend Colin Barrett believes Matty Cash’s services can be retained, but admits that “everybody has a price”.
The 22-year-old became the subject of unwelcome transfer talk in January.
Admiring glances from afar are to be expected, with Cash having been a revelation at right-back in the 2019-20 campaign.
Word of his progress has spread as far as Milan, with Serie A giants AC reported by The Sun to be monitoring a versatile operator.
No deal was done during the winter window, with Cash having been tied to a new contract at the City Ground, and Barrett hopes that will prove to be the case.
A man who operated at full-back in European Cup-winning teams told Nottingham Forest News: “The bottom line is that everybody has a price. I’m sure that if the price had been a silly one, he would have gone. You just can’t turn these things down, and that applies to everybody.
“Forest wanted a striker and they could have gone to Newcastle and said ‘we’ll give you £25m for Gayle’ and he’d have been down the road, that’s a fact. They weren’t prepared to do that so you can’t prise players away.
“If the price had been right, they would have found it hard to turn down. The transfer window comes again in the summer and if they are in the Premier League then there is no reason why they can’t keep him.”
Forest will be hoping to see Cash stay regardless of the division they find themselves in, with the man himself having shrugged off the speculation which followed him around in January.
Barrett believes there is more development to come from a man still learning his trade in a defensive berth.
“He will always struggle with people knocking balls to the back post,” said the former Forest star.
“There was one on Saturday at Birmingham where he got there and knocked it back in. He’s always going to struggle against that, but he does compete. Providing he keeps competing, he’ll win his fair share.
“It would be nice if he had that in his locker but the other things he does, you can’t fault him going forward and he has a great engine on him. He gets back well, his covering can be a little bit out of position, but it’s splitting hairs. He has done such a good job that you can’t criticise him because he is doing a fabulous job.
“Defensively he is learning now to jockey a bit better than he did when he first played that position, so he’s learning his trade as he goes along. If you were being ultra critical then you would like him to get round on cover, get tight on his man, get up the line, get his crosses in and all the bits and pieces that you want your wide players to do.
“Matty hasn’t got the distribution of Trent Alexander-Arnold but he has got other attributes. He has got a great engine, he can get up and down the line, he is filling that position superbly. All the lads that have come in to play right-back aren’t getting a sniff, so he’s doing his job.”
A similar assessment has been offered on the man who occupies the opposite flank, with Yuri Ribeiro earning plenty of plaudits during his short time on Trentside.
The Portuguese is another with plenty of potential to still unlock at 23 years of age.
Barrett said of the 2019 summer signing: “I think he’s alright. He’s another one that’s agile, he gets up and down the line, he knows what he’s doing. He’s a left-back!
“We’ll find out on Saturday because I think Leeds will get lads forward a lot quicker than a lot of sides. It will be interesting to see how they match up. But the lad has done well.
“It seems like Lamouchi has got a settled side and he knows exactly who is playing where. He has the good fortune now of having centre-halves who are all fit, which they didn’t have last season, so defensively they are pretty strong. It’s looking good.”
Forest head into a meeting with fellow promotion hopefuls Leeds sat fourth in the table, four points adrift of the Whites and with Sabri Lamouchi having collected a second Championship Manager of the Month award of the season.