NEIL LENNON has targeted Celtic winger James Forrest as he plans to lead Bolton back to the English Premier League next season.
The former Hoops manager, who gave the Scottish international his debut five years ago, has short-listed the 23-year-old as he revamps his squad after releasing 13 players at the end of the last campaign.
Forrest only has one year left on his contract, but would still cost Wanderers a sizeable seven-figure sum if Lennon managed to land him in this window.
The player has struggled with injury since breaking into the Celtic side at the end of season 2009/10, but finished last term strongly, forcing his way back into Gordon Strachan’s squad.
Lennon has been a huge admirer of the player since his days as Celtic development team manager and believes his explosive pace and capacity could propel his side towards the upper echelons of the Championship table.
He failed in a bid to take Kris Commons to Bolton this summer and is hoping for more luck in a proposed move for Forrest.
Lennon took over from Scot Dougie Freedman at the Trotters last season and saw the team finish in 18th spot – just four places above relegated Millwall. He is now scouring Europe for fresh faces.
He admitted: “‘I’ve been in Norway, Spain, France – it’s part of the job. It’s challenging, but it’s good because if you find that right player then the rewards are great – for the club, the team and yourself.
“They have had some fantastic British players here, but look at some of the Scandinavian or African players they’ve had. The game’s global now and I learnt that in my time at Celtic.
“I learnt that under financial implications you can go out and find players for less money who will come and make you better. That model is something we’re trying to look at here.”
Meanwhile, new Genk coach Peter Maes believes striker Jelle ‘Ice Cream’ Vossen will resist overtures from Celtic to remain in Belgium.
Also wanted by Middlesbrough, Burnley, Sheffield Wednesday and Club Brugges, Vossen is on honeymoon, but expected to make a decision on his future early next month.
Maes said: “With Jelle, I have personally been in touch recently. I think there’s a good chance he will stay with us. He has plenty of blue Genk blood. After his honeymoon ends next Monday I expect him back here in training.”
The SPFL champions could also be priced out of a move for a second Genk player after defender Kara Mbodj was valued at £3.5million.
Ronny Deila had identified the Senegalese international as a potential recruitment, but won’t pursue the matter at that price level.
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