Can Celtic trust Jozo Simunovic with starting spot?

By Connor Gordon

May 30, 2019

Celtic will be wondering whether to hang on with centre-back Jozo Simunovic.

The Croatian defender wanted to leave the club not long ago but has remained since. The man who was close to signing for Torino emerged as a starter in the closing half of the season.

He is forming a close bond with Kristoffer Ajer, but will he play up again and want to leave?

Can Celtic trust Jozo Simunovic?

The 24-year-old was a surprise top player for the end of season run-in.

Celtic will want to keep Jozo Simunovic a little longer. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Simunovic and Ajer played well together as he also had done with fellow Croatian Filip Benkovic.

It appeared the number five finally got what Celtic was about, scoring the goal following Billy McNeill’s passing. The emotional defender broke down and embraced the jubilation from the fans after it.

However, it was so long ago that there was serious talks about Simunovic leaving the club.

He had travelled all the way to the north of Italy to sign for Torino, but for a last minute plug pulled on the deal.

Simunovic returned with his tail between his legs and was in and out the team.

Jozo Simunovic was close to signing for Torino. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Now, with numbers hitting threadbare at the back, Celtic need him now more than ever.

Will he repay the favour or will the Hoops need reinforcements?

Bringing back Benkovic a good move?

Simunovic’s fellow countryman was the standout stopper during the first half of the season.

He guided the club through the Europa League group stages and rocky parts of the league.

Will Filip Benkovic be returning next season? (photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The on-loan Leicester City man may return if Brendan Rodgers has his way.

Unlike if another manager was at the helm at the Foxes, Rodgers already knows of Benkovic’s qualities and won’t need to look at him during pre-season.

This leaves the door open for a quick and much needed return.

The only question now is who will partner him – Ajer or Simunovic? It’s a conundrum.