According to a recent report from The Daily Mail, Leicester City are in talks with Dinamo Zagreb over the transfer of defender Filip Benkovic. The 21-year-old came up through the ranks at the Croatian outfit and has since gone on to play 76 times for the club, in which time he has twice helped them to the domestic league title, in 2016 and indeed earlier this year.
And it appears that Claude Puel’s Leicester are hoping to land the £9.9 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) this summer, in what would be a bigger summer signing for the Foxes than fellow centre back Jonny Evans.
Ultimately, former Manchester United defender Evans was a shrewd addition earlier this summer, given the Midlands outfit secured a cut-price deal for his services following West Brom’s relegation.
However, the Northern Ireland international, at the age of 30 and to turn 31 in January, simply isn’t a nod to the long term, and with Robert Huth having left the club earlier this summer and Wes Morgan also the wrong side of 30, Puel will surely be thinking of a long term replacement for the title-winning duo in the near future.
And that is why 21-year-old Benkovic, who possesses genuine ability both on and indeed off the ball, would be a bigger summer signing were he to move to the King Power Stadium.
The Croatia youth international already has 76 senior appearances under his belt despite his young age, and in those include appearances in both the Champions League and indeed the Europa League to underline pedigree on the European stage – a stage Leicester will surely seek to return to in the near future.
Significantly though, it appears that Benkovic has all the traits to become a successful centre back at Premier League level, as the Croatian is strong aerially and reads the game well off the ball, yet also has capabilities on the ball in bringing it out of defence calmly and with great authority.
And with the latter becoming an increasingly important part of the modern-day centre back’s game, as well as the clear need to remain defensively solid off the ball as well, Benkovic could prove to be a revelation.
And at the tender age of 21, the Croatian Under-21 international will only improve the more football he plays, and alongside England star Harry Maguire could strike up quite the partnership in the years to come (should Maguire remain at the club that is).
Thus, with nine years on Evans and Leicester clearly in need of a long-term plan in the defensive unit, the addition of Benkovic would be a bigger summer signing for the Foxes than that of 30-year-old Evans.
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