Celtic wide midfielder James Forrest has told the Evening Times that reported Everton target Kieran Tierney is ‘right up there’ with the best, amid speculation linking the Scotland left-back with a move to the Premier League.
It has been claimed that Toffees and Napoli scouts are keeping close tabs on the 22-year-old’s situation with the Hoops, after the Scottish Premiership champions knocked back an initial £15million approach from Arsenal.
The Gunners are thought to have returned to the Bhoys with a second bid, now claimed to be in the region of £18million, although Chief Executive Peter Lawwell is holding out for £25million, given the fee Manchester United are reportedly set to pay for Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Forrest, meanwhile, is hoping Lawwell is able to keep hold of his younger teammate, as Tierney has shown himself to be as adept on the left of the Celtic defence as some of Europe’s biggest names, having come up against the likes of FC Barcelona’s Jordi Alba in the Champions League.
“I’ve faced Jordi Alba, [Jan] Vertonghen and [Aleksandar] Kolarov,” Forrest said. “There are a lot of top ones when you go into the Champions League or Europa League or are playing with Scotland.
“Kieran’s right up there. You can see the way he bombs up and down how fit he is, and he’s good defensively as well. He’s a great athlete. There’s nothing between him and Andy Robertson
“They are two great players for Scotland. Even though they play in the same position, they are slightly different with the way they play. It’s a bonus for Scotland that we have two players like that in the squad.”
Forrest went on to add that whilst Tierney has returned to the club’s training complex ahead of pre-season, the 12-cap international has not discussed the interest he has received.
“KT hasn’t been saying much,” the £2.7million-rated winger added. “He’s here even though he isn’t training yet. But he’s been linked [with moves] the last couple of years, and he always handled it the same.
“He has a really good personality, and it’s a credit to him how he gets on with things. KT has been linked with big clubs from the first season he broke into the team. He never lets any of that bother him. You have seen that in his performances over the last couple of years. He is always up there as one of the best players.”