Celtic striker Georgios Samaras has reportedly turned down an astronomical £60,000-a-week, three-year deal to play in Russia for Rubin Kazan.
Celtic’s enigmatic Greek international striker is out of contract at the end of the season and it seems probable he will quit the Parkhead side after six years at the club.
Russia’s transfer window remains open until next Thursday and mega-rich Rubin are desperate to add to their squad. According to reports in Greece, Samaras was offered a bumper three-year contract with the ambitious club which would have earned him a staggering £9.36 million.
However, the former Manchester City forward, who turns 29 tomorrow, rejected the deal because he didn’t want to move to Russia and he thought the switch would hinder his preparations for this summer’s World Cup.
Samaras has also been linked with moves to Toronto, Atletico Madrid, Lazio and Hull City. But he still hasn’t ruled out extending his stay in Glasgow, despite a disappointing season.
As Celtic prepare to face Hearts in the SPFL Premiership at Tynecastle on Saturday, goalkeeper Fraser Forster claims he has given little thought to his record-breaking clean-sheet feats.
Having eclipsed Charlie Shaw’s 92-year-old club record by keeping 12 consecutive clean sheets in the league, the Celtic No 1 is now just 31 minutes shy of former Aberdeen goalkeeper Bobby Clark’s 1,115-minute Scottish league shut-out record.
But Forster told Celtic View: “I’ve not really talked about the record at all. People have obviously mentioned to me in passing and it’s nice that it’s come along, but it only takes a deflection or a penalty then it’s done.
“For me, it’s nice but I haven’t given it any real thought. It’s not one of my goals mentally moving forward. When we do concede, it’s nothing I will get disappointed about.”
The 25-year-old added: “I have heard bits and pieces about Charlie Shaw and he was a fantastic ’keeper for Celtic. Keeping that number of clean sheets at that time was brilliant and people within the club and around the club have been saying that I was getting close to breaking the record.
“But as I said, it’s not something I have paid much attention to. I know what my aims are and I’m just focused on those and working hard on trying to reach them.”
However, England goalkeeping legend Peter Shilton as good as dismissed Forster’s achievements, claiming he is not tested enough in the Scottish Premiership. But Forster remains focused on performing as well as he can for Celtic and hopes that will be enough to secure a place in the England squad for the upcoming World Cup.
Forster, who won his solitary England cap against Chile in November, said: “Obviously, you’re looking ahead towards the summer and I am just looking to play as well as I can between now and the end of the season as that would give me the best opportunity of getting on the plane to Brazil for England.
“I’m going to try and keep on doing what I have been doing and keep working on the aspects of my game which I feel need it.
“I also want to keep looking after myself physically and improve on that side of things.
“So those are my aims for the rest of the season – keeping the standards high and continuing to perform at that level.”
Meanwhile, former Celtic defender Lee Naylor has joined English Championship high-flyers Derby County on trial.
The 33-year-old, who was released by Accrington Stanley last month, played a full match for County’s under-21 side against their Sheffield Wednesday counterparts on Tuesday evening.
County are on a six-match unbeaten run in the league and are just two points outside the automatic promotion zone as Steve McClaren’s men target a place in the English Premier League.
If McClaren elects to snap up Naylor, he will provide competition for Scot Craig Forsyth, who has turned in a hugely impressive campaign for the Rams, narrowly missing out on Gordon Strachan’s national side yesterday. Naylor exited Parkhead in 2010.