Celtic must hold on to James Forrest amid Zenit speculation

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…

James Forrest is a target for Zenit St. Petersburg, as the Russians prepare a £12m bid for the winger, according to The Scottish Sun.

What’s the story?

Zenit are looking to bring Forrest to Russia for a £12m fee and a staggering £70,000 per-week deal for the player.

Per the report, those at Parkhead won’t welcome any bid for such an important player in the wake of losing another star man, with Kieran Tierney heading to Arsenal.

With Forrest stating how he happy he is at Celtic Park and having a contract until 2022, it’s unlikely that this deal will go ahead. Yet, given the money already splashed by the Russian side this summer, it would be no surprise if they at least try to test Celtic’s resolve with a bid.

Irreplaceable

Forrest has already shown his importance to the side the season, scoring a pivotal leveller against CFR Cluj in the Champions League qualifiers and the killer strike in Celtic’s topsy-turvy 5-2 win against Motherwell last weekend.

And this is no purple patch. The 28-year-old has been a key player for the Celts and was their player of the season last term, an incredible achievement when you consider the competition around him.

Not only has he developed into a match-winner in the past few years, but he’s been a manager’s dream too.

He’s shown he’s not afraid to sacrifice himself as a right-wing back if Neil Lennon looks to play three in defence. The boss has opted to use Forrest in this role a few times this season, and he’s done well each time.

The reason he’s had to play out of position is to help Lennon ease in new arrivals. Hatem Abd Elhamed has just begun to establish himself in the side, but for the opening few games of the season, Forrest was the only player trusted on the right-hand side.

Now though, he can help ease the Israeli into the side and revert back to his more dangerous role as an out-and-out winger.

In a period of great change this summer, keeping hold of the likes of Forrest and Callum McGregor is so important to a club on the cusp of history.

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