Why Filip Benkovic could be a smart addition for Derby County
According to Telegraph, Derby County have launched a bid to sign Leicester defender Filip Benkovic on loan in January.
Filip Benkovic, 22, who was signed by Leicester last August for £13million from Dinamo Zagreb, will be allowed to leave on loan after failing to make a first-team appearance under Brendan Rodgers so far this season, the report adds.
He has been playing with Leicester U23s, failing to play a single minute for the Foxes first-team this season, thanks to the strong form shown by Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu.
After a solid loan spell with Celtic last term, the Croatian should be ready to tackle the highly competitive nature of Championship football.
Derby County have endured a difficult campaign under Phillip Cocu and are 17th in the league after one win in eight matches. Injuries to key players as well as the sacking of Richard Keogh have largely hurt the Rams.
They were beaten 3-0 by Reading on Saturday, firming up the need for reinforcements for the second half of the campaign.
Ahead of the January transfer window, Derby have prioritised signing a central defender (h/t Telegraph). Having sacked Keogh, the Rams are currently short of defensive options.
They have been struggling defensively of late, especially away from home, having conceded 13 goals in their last six away league games, with Craig Forsyth coming in alongside Curtis Davies in central defence to replace the injured Matt Clarke.
Keeping that in mind, Filip Benkovic’s addition makes sense. Impressive during his temporary spell at Celtic last season, Benkovic helped the Scottish side win the domestic treble by featuring on 28 occasions in all competitions.
If signed, the Croatian should walk straight into the team alongside Curtis Davies at the back, allowing Craig Forsyth to challenge for the left-back spot.
Despite being just 22, Benkovic is a vocal leader and will add some much-needed strength and physicality to the Derby backline. The ex-Dinamo Zagreb man is an aggressive defender, commanding in the air, tenacious in the tackle and composed in possession.
Due to his 6ft 4in frame, he is an asset to have in both boxes and would also provide Cocu’s side with a threat from set-pieces.
Benkovic scored two goals while on loan at Celtic last season and he also scored four goals for Dinamo Zagreb the season before. Hence, he should be a really handy customer to have during dead-ball situations.
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In the video below, one could see the 22-year-old centre-back’s style of play and the qualities he could bring to Pride Park if a move goes through.
Benkovic is a very promising defender and has the required attributes to thrive in the Championship. All in all, the Croatian could be an excellent signing for Cocu’s Derby side.