Celtic have been praised for awarding James Forrest a new four-year deal recently following his excellent form over the last few months.
Former Aberdeen striker Noel Whelan was speaking to Football Insider about the 28-year-old midfielder, who he described as “a key asset” and “a top commodity”.
He thinks that Forrest made the right decision in choosing to stay at Parkhead, although he thinks that other clubs could still try to tempt him away despite recently agreeing a new deal.
Whelan told Football Insider: “Celtic have some top players they need to tie down and keep happy. They are a top club who do things the right way.
“Celtic look after their top players. Neil Lennon and the board regard James Forrest as a key asset and a top commodity, and that’s why they extended his contract.
“They want to reward him, and they are scared of interest from the Premier League giants. He is flying with Celtic and Scotland, and there has to be something pretty amazing to tempt him away.
“Are you going to swap Celtic for a mid-table Premier League club when Celtic can offer European football every season and the chance to play in front of 50,000 every other week? Unless a top-six club comes in for him, Forrest is better off staying at Celtic.”
Whelan is right to praise the Scottish champions for their proactive nature in trying to keep key players at the club, with Forrest not the only member of Lennon’s squad to be handed a contract extension in recent weeks.
Callum McGregor and Scott Bain were also given new deals by the club, with the former being a key presence in their line-up with five goals to his name and more minutes played (2,325) than anyone else this season.
Whelan’s views that Celtic should still be vigilant of interest from Premier League clubs is also worth noting, with Kieran Tierney signing for Arsenal this summer despite previously being contracted to the Hoops until 2023.
The Glaswegian club have also seen the likes of Stuart Armstrong, Virgil van Dijk and Fraser Forster being lured to the Premier League over the past few years, so it shouldn’t come as a great surprise if England’s top brass try to entice Forrest south of the border.
Whelan’s apt description of the 28-year-old as “a top commodity” is backed up by his performances over the last number of months, with Forrest already providing 11 goals and 12 assists this season on top of the 18 goals and 20 assists he recorded in 2018/19.
What could help to keep him at Celtic more so than previous Hoops players is their renewed promise in Europe – they ensured their place in the knockout rounds of the Europa League after beating Lazio this month, their first competitive win in Italy, as per Sky Sports.
Whelan has got his assessment of Forrest’s situation spot on, from commending the player’s form and Celtic’s decisiveness in tying him down, to highlighting why staying in Glasgow may currently be preferable to a mid-table Premier League move.
Celtic fans, do you agree with Whelan’s assessment of Forrest and the club? Comment below with your views!
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