Why Crystal Palace could strike gold with the signing of Celtic’s 22-year old Jozo Simunovic
Crystal Palace have reportedly emerged as contenders for Celtic defender Jozo Simunovic and the Scottish side could agree to part ways with him for £8million. The young centre-back has endured a mixed career of sorts with the Hoops so far and with interest stemming from Palace, he might just be tempted to complete the move.
With the January window up and running, Roy Hodgson will be on the lookout to bring in some new faces at the club and Simunovic is understood to be the latest name to grace his wish list.
Interestingly, Simunovic was signed as a replacement for Virgil van Dijk, who recently completed a sensational move to join Liverpool. Van Dijk was a key part of the Celtic set-up prior to joining Southampton and Simunovic has certainly had his share of struggles as he tried to fill the void left behind by the prolific Dutchman.
Earlier, he was a part of Dinamo Zagreb and made his way to Scotland in 2015. However, his debut season was marred by difficulties and injuries and he almost joined Torino in 2016.
A failed medical later, Simunovic stayed back with Celtic and continued to soldier on and while he seems to have improved, he continues to be unreliable. With Palace voicing an interest in acquiring his services, Simunovic might be on his way to the Premier League soon enough. There is most definitely a need for an able centre-back at Selhurst Park and Simunovic does not lack talent, thus making the Bosnian international seem like a decent addition.
After spending a good majority of the season in the relegation zone, Palace have finally managed to climb out and are temporarily safe at 14th spot. Regardless, that does not mask the fact that they are merely 2 points ahead of the dreaded relegation zone.
To ensure they finish the season on a good note, Hodgson will need to address their defensive issues. The Eagles’ regular centre-back Scott Dann is likely to be out for the rest of the season after succumbing to an injury and that creates a necessity for the manager to ensure they sign a player to boost their depth in that area. To that effect, Simunovic might be a viable option.
Since Celtic have already signed Marvin Compper, they should be willing to let Simunovic leave and he could help strengthen Palace’s defence for the time being. He might be able to endure a better time at Selhurst Park and revive his career to fuel the club towards sealing a higher place finish.