Filip Benkovic’s departure from Parkhead this summer looks like coming with no return ticket.
Brendan Rodgers, as many will have heard by now, has been back praising Benkovic once again. The Leicester City boss didn’t reveal whether he would be keeping the player next year or not, but he was full of praise for the Croat.
Speaking at a Q&A with Leicester supporters, Rodgers said the following on Benkovic:
BR on Filip Benković: "He’s very imposing. At 6ft 4in, he’s very dominant in both boxes. For 21-years-old, he's very mature and very good on the ball. He was fantastic for us at Celtic." pic.twitter.com/IONdjlzSFz
— Leicester City (@LCFC) April 10, 2019
Rodgers certainly sounds like a manager willing to give him a chance next season. He’ll clearly rate him highly after signing him for Celtic in the first place.
But Celtic shouldn’t look to put together a big package to lure him back for another season. Certainly not if Leicester start to play any form of hard-ball over him.
Injury woes have been a problem
And that’s because whilst Benkovic has shown himself to be a very capable centre back with plenty of potential, the truth is he’s been injured for most of the second-half of the season.
He missed as many as 12 games during the crucial period between January and March. He’s made 26 appearances overall for Celtic this season. He also had to come off at Ibrox after injuring himself after a dodgy start to the match back in December.
Put his numbers into perspective when you look at the likes of Callum McGregor and Kristoffer Ajer, who have made 60 and 41 outings respectively.
Even Dedryck Boyata, who’s had his own injury problems this year, has featured in 37 matches this term.
Benkovic’s injury problems have meant that we’ve often had to break up our centre back partnerships consistently. Celtic haven’t really had a settled back-line throughout most of this season. The most consistent actually proved to be Boyata and Ajer.
The likes of Jozo Simunovic and Jack Hendry have also been included at times. And the former, who’s hardly been a prominent figure this season, has managed 23 appearances.
It’s incredible that Celtic are running away with things domestically having changed the defence around so much. But in an ideal world we wouldn’t have had to.
This would all be fine if we had Benkovic for the long-term, but when you have players like the Leicester man for a season, months out with injury are costly.
Is he worth bringing back next season? Definitely, if Leicester are open to it. But if there is any hard-ball being played and a big fee is commanded? It would be best if the Hoops looked elsewhere.