Why Stoke City should reignite their interest in Filip Benkovic in January
As per the report, Leicester had a loan agreement lined up for the Croatian to spend the ongoing season at the bet 365 Stadium but the failure to secure a replacement for Harry Maguire, who completed an £80million move to Man United, prompted the Foxes to pull the plug on a temporary deal.
Benkovic, who completed a £13million switch to the King Power Stadium from Dinamo Zagreb in the summer of 2018, spent the entirety of the previous campaign on loan at Celtic in the Scottish Premiership under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers.
The 22-year-old is still awaiting his first involvement for the Foxes this season. Rodgers is yet to give him a taste of senior football at Leicester City, despite showing faith in the Croatian’s abilities during his managerial stint at Celtic the last term.
The Zagreb-born central defender has cut a frustrated figure at the King Power Stadium, with Rodgers’ preferred centre-back pairing of Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu working wonders.
Plus, with veteran Wes Morgan also ahead of Benkovic in the pecking order, the Croatian would be better off seeking a move elsewhere.
To put things into perspective, Stoke City should go back in the market for a loan deal when the transfer window reopens in January.
Michael O’Neill, who recently took over the reins from Nathan Jones at the bet 365 Stadium, has made considerable strides towards steadying a sinking ship with victories over Barnsley and Wigan Athletic. That said, the Potters must scour the market for reinforcements to beat the drop.
Stoke have a big squad at their disposal but the Potters have been way too vulnerable at the back in the ongoing campaign.
The Potters have conceded a lot more than what they have scored so far and they need to find a player who can plug the hole in their leaky defence.
To that end, freshening up the defensive unit with some young blood in January must be a part of the club’s transfer agenda.
Bruno Martins-Indi and Danny Batth have featured at the heart of the defence in each of O’Neill’s first three games in charge in the Championship.
While Tottenham loanee Cameron Carter-Vickers has shown some sporadic signs of promise, Filip Benkovic could just improve their rather shambolic defensive record.
The Croatian is unproven in English football but his talent and potential were there for everyone to see during his loan spell at Celtic last season.
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All in all, Benkovic to Stoke City on a loan deal in January makes perfect sense and this is a move that would work out for all parties involved.