Everton looking to bring Celtic youngster to Premier League

Roberto Martinez has set sights on Celtic winger James Forrest as the Toffees prepares to say goodbye to on-loan Barcelona star Gerard Deulofeu.

Everton’s pursuit of a top-four finish in the Premier League next season could hinge on the successful acquisition of Celtic midfielder James Forrest.

According to a report in the Daily Record, the Merseyside club are preparing to launch a bid for the 22-year-old, who comes highly rated by football fans north of the border.

Rumours suggest that Toffees boss Roberto Martinez has identified the Bhoys man as the ideal replacement for Gerard Deulofeu, who is due to return to Barcelona following the completion of his current season-long loan at Goodison Park.

Forrest has long courted attention from Premier League clubs, with former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp previously sending Spurs scouts out to keep tabs on the winger.

However Everton now look set to step up their efforts with a summer bid for the player, who is valued around the £7 million mark by his Parkhead owners.

The 22-year-old would undoubtedly favour a move to Goodison Park though and the chance to link up with Martinez – a manager with a fine track record of getting the best out of players from the Scottish Premiership.

Shaun Maloney enjoyed arguably the best form of his career under the Spaniard at Wigan, while ex-Rangers man Steven Naismith is enjoying life on Merseyside along with former Celtic hero Aidan McGeady, whose career has been revitalised following a difficult final year with Spartak Moscow.

A move to Everton would also boost Forrest’s chances of making more of an impression at international level, with the ultra-competitive nature of the Premier League providing the perfect stage for the winger to demonstrate his talents to Scotland manager Gordan Strachan.

Any move would be a blow to Celtic boss Neil Lennon though, with the Northern Irishman already facing up to the prospect of losing Georgios Samaras on a free transfer this summer.

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch