Celtic would have to make a significant payout to the former club of Jozo Simunovic if the defender is sold this summer.
According to Dnevno, there was a clause involved in the player’s transfer to Celtic which guarantees Dinamo Zagreb 20%-25% of the resale fee.
The 24-year-old has had his share of injury troubles in his time at Celtic, with a knee ligament injury ruling him out for nearly eight months in 2016 and knee problems keeping him out for 16 matches last season.
Simunovic could face stern competition for regular game-time at Celtic in the 2019/20 season too, given that Neil Lennon also has Kristoffer Ajer and Christopher Jullien at centre-back.
The Norway defender played 28 Premiership matches and made 45 appearances in total last season, while Jullien is likely to start regularly after his summer arrival from Toulouse for £7m, the second-highest transfer fee that Celtic have ever paid out.
Still, the Catch-22 is, if Simunovic was to leave, Lennon would have very little experienced specialist cover at centre-back for Ajer and Jullien.
Nir Bitton could fill in at centre-back if required and played there against Sarajevo in Champions League qualifying, but he is primarily a defensive midfielder. Stephen Welsh could be called up from the reserve squad if needed, but he has no experience at first-team level.
Simunovic might not have been an automatic selection throughout his four years at Celtic so far, but he has shown himself to be a solid defender. Along with Eric Sviatchenko, he was part of a centre-back partnership that helped to keep nine consecutive clean sheets in the 2016/17 campaign.
An injury or loss of form involving Ajer or Jullien would likely see Simunovic next in line to be called upon by Lennon. With Celtic not blessed for centre-back options right now, allowing the 24-year-old to leave would be very risky, and the obligation to pay off Dinamo Zagreb would be an additional blow.
Celtic fans, would you like to see Simunovic staying at the club or can they afford to let him leave? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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