Celtic fans have already been given both good and bad news about the future of their backline for next season. Dedryck Boyata will be off to Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga, but Filip Benkovic will be returning on loan. Now, though, it’s up to Neil Lennon to ensure that Jozo Simunovic stays despite The Scottish Sun’s claims he could move to La Liga.
The Croatian U21 international has been sublime this season. The move that’s being linked, if you haven’t clicked the link above, is a £4 million switch to mid-table Spanish league side Alaves. However, after a cracking season at Parkhead with plenty of high points for the Celtic man, Neil Lennon will be desperate to retain him for next season to avoid causing too much change to the side’s defence.
Even if Simunovic was to leave the club, the £4 million that is being touted is a pathetic price tag. The Bhoys’ defensive rock has a Transfermarkt valuation of £2.93 million and if he to be allowed to leave then the Parkhead faithful will expect a bigger fee for his departure. Ideally, though, the 24-year-old will stay on at the club and nail down a partnership with big Benkovic for next season.
There’s no doubting that Celtic will need to bring in a defender of some sort to fill in at the back to cover the exit of Dedryck Boyata, but whilst the club are looking for someone a little bit better than Marvin Compper, they don’t want someone to come in and keep Jozo out of the side. His form has improved dramatically in recent weeks, and goals have come in the second phase of the season too.
In the final five games of the season, Simunovic managed two goals, as you will all know, against Kilmarnock and Aberdeen in back-to-back games. The one that mattered the most was his goal on 67 minutes against Killie, as being the Celtic #5 it made the perfect tribute to Billy McNeill, and it would be fitting for him to stay on and become a Parkhead legend, just like the famous #5 McNeill before him, even if he never will match the Glasgow great’s achievements.
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