According to the latest reports from the Scottish Sun, La Liga outfit Alaves are looking to make a £4m raid for Celtic’s defensive ace Jozo Simunovic. The Croatian centre half attracted interest from Torino in 2016, but he stayed put at Parkhead. The defender played a limited role in the past few years, but he has been the mainstay for his side in the second half of the season.
Simunovic started this season as someone who was not high on the pecking order as Brendan Rodgers often preferred Dedryck Boyata, Filip Benkovic and Kristoffer Ajer to start in the centre back role. However, Simunovic played a significant part as Benkovic missed a good few months due to injury and Ajer and Simunovic formed a strong partnership at the back.
Why the club shouldn’t look to sell defenders?
As things stand, Simunovic is likely to continue as the first choice centre half for the next season. Celtic are expected to sign defenders in the transfer market as Dedryck Boyata has already agreed to join Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin. Filip Benkovic is also going to return to Leicester City after his loan spell ends. However, Brendan Rodgers has indicated that he might be willing to send the Croatian again on another loan spell.
What should be Lennon’s play?
In any case, Celtic will need to sign new defenders and to sell an established member like Simunovic will add undue pressure on the transfer team to replace him. If the Hoops want to sell him, then they should look to extract almost double of what Alaves are willing to pay right now.
Simunovic has been part of 4 Premiership title triumphs, but he has never really managed to be at the centre stage. However, his time seems to be arriving soon, and it would be naive on the player’s part as well if he decides to move away from the club when he is likely to play a significant role in the upcoming season.
The defender, though needs to improve if he wants to hold his place for a long time. Simunovic has been error-prone in his career, but he showcased in the last 3-4 months that he has improved tremendously. However, if Celtic goes on to sign a top defender to replace Boyata, then Simunovic might again be sidelined from the first team as Kristoffer Ajer seems a more likely starter right now.
Therefore, in that case, the Croatian might have a decision to make about leaving the club, but he should be confident about winning back his place, whoever joins in the summer. As for Celtic, they shouldn’t look to sell him, and only an offer of somewhere around £8m should tempt them.
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