Filip Benkovic's summer departure from Celtic shouldn't come as a blow
Filip Benkovic’s departure from Celtic may be inevitable, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Brendan Rodgers brought him to Parkhead in the summer. Unsurprisingly, therefore, he wants him back at Leicester at the end of the season to take a look at him.
This isn’t anything that should be taking Celtic by shock. It shouldn’t come as a blow, and it certainly isn’t an excuse for the club to be weakened in the summer.
Keeping the Croatian never looked on the cards beyond the end of the season. Leicester splashed out £13million to lure him from Dinamo Zagreb last summer. They were never going to turn around and let him leave for Parkhead again next season.
Celtic must be well down the line with a list of centre-back targets in the summer. With Dedryck Boyata leaving, and the likes of Jack Hendry, Marvin Compper, and Jozo Simunovic not good enough, substantial depth is needed.
Celtic must’ve anticipated this
We’ve known since bringing Benkovic in last summer that this was likely to just be a one-year agreement. He’s certainly good enough to play in the English Premier League, and he’s shown he’s a cut above Scottish football too.
Unfortuantely for us, we haven’t been able to get what he should’ve done from him. Benkovic was injured for two months between January and March with an ankle injury. He only just returned to the first-team squad at Dens Park on Sunday, so he’ll at least be available for the title run-in.
It will be interesting to see where Celtic go from here in the summer. They can’t afford to enter next season with no additional defensive options after Boyata and Benkovic leave.
Celtic played with fire this season and were burned. Due to a lack of recruitment at centre-back, Hendry had to play in crucial Champions League qualification matches. Unsurprisingly, the Hoops were knocked out by AEK Athens as Hendry failed to convince.
Lessons have to be learned from that, and immediate action on summer targets needs taken once Benkovic departs.
Rodgers wanting him back at Leicester should be exacty what we mostly expected. It’s no excuse to act as if we’ve been struck with a blow here. Keeping Benko, unfortunately, was never on the cards.