Celtic Defender Jozo Simunovic has gained some attention from clubs south of the border recently after a string of good performances. Celtic has been a good hunting ground for Premier league teams recently, as seen by the signing of Virgil van Dijk by Southampton. However, Brendan Rodgers is starting to get a little anxious over the attention Simunovic is receiving. He already had to fend a move off from Italian team Torino on the last day of the transfer window as they failed in their attempt at securing a £4million transfer.
The Croat was superb in the old-firm derby, helping Celtic to a clean sheet. Acutely aware of his growing reputation, Rodgers was promoted into delivering a hands-off warning.
Rodgers said: “I see Jozo’s future very much here. He has been out injured and probably hasn’t had that consistent run as a Celtic player.
“But he has everything really. He is good in the air, quick and serves the ball well.
“I have been involved at both ends of the Premier League so I know the finances involved. It’s very hard if a player is offered 80, 90 or 100 grand a week to say no to that.
“But, being a young player, Jozo has time.
“He just needs to get back fit and becoming available for every game.
“Once he does that and shows consistently how he has been in the last number of weeks – if he can have a run like that over the next couple of years – then of course he is going to be a sought-after player.
“Because centre-halves and strikers, in particular, are very much in demand. If you have a top one then even more so.”
But whilst it most certainly isn’t something they should do, the cold reality of it is that they may not have much choice. The SPL is traditionally a shop window for English teams. One such club looking to bolster their defence with his signature is Rafa Benitez.
As things stand, their need for a defender is not obvious. They currently have Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Jascelles, Chancel Mbemba and Grant Hanley as central defensive options.
However, Rafa Benitez may already have one eye on the Premier League and whilst Jamaal Lascelles is perhaps the man they will build the defence around, he could do with a long term partner and Simunovic would suit him superbly. Lascelles is fast, and able to play with the ball on the desk, bringing it out of defence superbly.
Whilst Simunovic is a big powerful, imposing centre-half, offering aerial ability and a more physical approach.
By now it is pretty clear that Newcastle will be making a return to the Premier League. They are head and shoulders above any other team in the division. So with that in mind, all of Rafa Benitez future acquisitions will have one eye on the future – and Simunovic fits that bill perfectly.