Celtic supporters in the Transfer Tavern are eagerly anticipating their side’s Europa League second leg clash with Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday night after seeing their team edge the first leg 1-0 at Celtic Park last week.
Brendan Rodgers’ men qualified for the last 32 of Europe’s secondary competition after finishing third in their Champions League group having picked up just three points from their six group stage matches. Yet the Bhoys produced an impressive display to deservedly get the better of Roberto Mancini’s side last week, with Callum McGregor’s effort 12 minutes from time giving the Scottish Premiership leaders a slender advantage to take to Russia ahead of the second leg on Thursday.
Consequently, there have been many delighted Celtic fans in the Tavern in recent times, although they are unlikely to be overly thrilled by a recent report from the print edition of The Daily Express (via The Daily Record), which suggests that Lazio look set to reignite their interest in defender Jozo Simunovic.
The 23-year-old made the move to Parkhead back in 2015 and has since gone on to feature 74 times for the Bhoys, 24 appearances of which have come this term in helping Rodgers’ side to a nine-point lead at the summit of the Scottish Premiership.
And while he has been in and out of the side in the league in recent times, the former Croatia youth international played an integral role in their 1-0 success over Zenit last week to underline his status as an important player for Rodgers, which is why recent reports that Lazio are interested in the defender are unlikely to be welcomed by the former Liverpool chief.
Stefan De Vrij looks set to leave the Italian outfit and Simunovic has reportedly been touted as a possible replacement in the summer, which could leave Celtic facing a big fight to keep the 23-year-old come the end of the campaign.
Landlord’s verdict: With only 12 Scottish Premiership appearances to his name this term, you’d be forgiven that Jozo Simunovic isn’t in Brendan Rodgers’ regular first team plans, but his efforts against Zenit last week suggest otherwise.
The 23-year-old has endured some injury problems this term but produced a great display in their 1-0 Europa League success last Thursday, further underlining how integral a player he is for the Bhoys, and will be in the years to come.
Yet some potentially unwelcome reports have emerged suggesting that Lazio are eyeing up Simunovic as a possible replacement for Stefan De Vrij this summer, which could leave Celtic facing a massive battle trying to keep the Croatia star beyond the forthcoming transfer window.
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