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Neil Lennon offers firm response to James Forrest exit link

Neil Lennon, head coach of CFR Cluj, in action during the game  during the UEFA Champions League 2019

The Celtic manager does not want to lose his star winger this summer.

Neil Lennon, head coach of CFR Cluj, in action during the game  during the UEFA Champions League 2019

Neil Lennon has stated there is no confirmed FC Zenit interest in Celtic winger James Forrest, insisting reports and rumours about a potential exit to Russia is just speculation, The Scottish Sun report.

News broke on Sunday night about the Russian Premier League side's apparent desire to sign the Scotland international, but the Hoops boss has moved quickly to play it down.

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He's also reaffirmed his desire to keep hold of his star talent, believing that the player is also happy at Celtic Park currently.

After selling Kieran Tierney to Arsenal, losing another stand-out homegrown member of the squad would be a bitter blow to Lennon's options.

 

As quoted by The Scottish Sun, the Hoops boss said of it all: "There is no confirmation of that (Zenit interest), it is just speculation, but it doesn't surprise me. However, from my point of view we want James here and he is happy here as well.

"It's important to hold on to your better players, we have already sold one so we don't want to sell any more.

"We are looking to add to the squad rather than selling any more of our important players and James certainly falls into that category."

Can Celtic afford to lose Forrest?

Given his goal contributions over the last couple of seasons, losing Forrest would be a serious blow to any of Celtic's trophy ambitions. He's proven to be an almost irreplaceable member of the squad.

James Forrest of Celtic FC celebrates during the game  during the UEFA Champions League 2019

In 2018/19 he scored 18 goals in all competitions, also assisting a magnificent 20 times (Transfermarkt). It's the kind of attacking contribution that was unique in the Hoops squad as both a scorer and a creator of important goals.

He's started the new season in sparkling form too, netting twice and assisting three times (Transfermarkt).

Even if they receive a big fee for the 28-year-old there would be no guarantee of securing a replacement who would be ready to hit the ground running and provide what he does.

No wonder then that Lennon was bullish in response to the reported interest.

There can be no thought of selling him whatsoever if Celtic want to achieve their aims this season.

James Forrest of Celtic FC in action against Luis Aurelio of CFR Cluj   during the UEFA Champions League 2019

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