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No Simunovic, no problem – The time is right for Celtic to sign this 6ft 4in defensive giant in January

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Why Celtic reigniting interest in Amir Rrahmani would make perfect sense

Back in June during the summer transfer window, a report from The Scottish Sun claimed that Celtic were interested in securing a deal for Kosovan international defender Amir Rrahmani, who was then plying his trade with Croatian heavyweights Dinamo Zagreb. 

The news of Celtic’s links with Rrahmani came when the Hoops were searching high and low for defensive reinforcements but the transfer window ended with the reigning champions completing deals for Hatem Abd Elhamed, Christopher Jullien, Moritz Bauer and Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo, whilst the Kosovan earned a move to the Serie A with Hellas Verona. 

As per the report, Rrahmani was genuinely interested in a move to Celtic but he will be reasonably happy with how things have panned out for him at his new club in Italy.

The 25-year-old 6ft. 4-inch defensive giant has nailed down a regular starting place at Hellas Verona, having started each of the club’s first six league fixtures.   

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With Celtic also making a bright start to the season and the new defensive recruits plugging the gaps left by the departure of their predecessors, it didn’t look as if missing out on Amir Rrahmani would ever come back to haunt them. 

However, things have taken a dramatic turnaround with the recent injury to centre-back Jozo Simunovic, with The Telegraph confirming that the former Croatian youth international could be out of action for the next four months due to a knee problem. 

Hence, if the report is to be believed, Simunovic is not going to be a part of Neil Lennon’s plans until the second half of the ongoing campaign and given that it is a serious injury, it is unlikely that the centre-back would be fast-tracked back into the first-team. 

To that end, Lennon has lost some valuable cover at the back and while Jullien, Ajer and Elhamed are all available, the Hoops should consider going back in the market for someone like Amir Rrahmani, who has proven his credentials at the highest level since his move to the Serie A in the summer. 

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Notably, Lennon has often opted to deploy Elhamed at right-back and rotate the Israeli with Bauer, meaning that any further injury at the back would put Celtic in a big hole.

While retaining the domestic title is undoubtedly a priority, the Hoops will also be expected to make a better impression in the Europa League than they did last season. 

Going by that, Lennon needs to have adequate depth in all departments in order to facilitate squad rotation and, with that in mind, the Hoops should consider revisiting their interest in the Kosovan international to cope with the injury to Simunovic. 

One might argue that bringing in a new centre-back in January would only increase the selection dilemma once Simunovic returns from injury but it is worth mentioning here that the Hoops are still not fully stocked in their options at the back, despite recruiting four new defenders at the start of the season. 

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Celtic would probably need to pay a lot more for Rrahmani in January that they would have needed to earlier in the summer when he was at Dinamo Zagreb but the Hoops can now rest assured that the Kosovan giant is more than capable of competing at the highest level. 

Still only 25, Rrahmani is about to enter his prime years as a centre-back in the near future and it is easy to see that his arrival at Parkhead would be a significant boost to Lennon’s squad dynamics. 

That said, Celtic should explore the possibility to revisiting their interest in the 25-year-old when the transfer window reopens in January.