Leiceister City manager Brendan Rodgers wants Filip Benkovic to stay at Celtic

By David Walton

May 12, 2019

Filip Benkovic’s Celtic future may not be dead after all.

The Croatian has been at Parkhead on a season-long loan. He was signed by Brendan Rodgers in the summer from Leicester City. Benkovic has went on to make 26 appearances in an up-and-down campaign in Glasgow.

In recent weeks he’s struggled to break the partnership of Jozo Simunovic and Kristoffer Ajer. Considering both men have yet to concede a goal together, it could be a tricky task for the former Dinamo Zagreb man to break into the team anytime soon.

Filip Benkovic’s loan spell remains an impressive one (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

But the fact there may even be a next season for Benkovic at Celtic is a boost. That’s exactly what Rodgers hinted at when asked about his Leicester future. Speaking in the Sunday Mail, Rodgers had this to say on his Croatian stalwart.

“Filip’s situation is one I’ll certainly look at. But there’s no doubt that if I want him to go out on loan again, I’d want him to go to Celtic.

“Of course, I’ll have a conversation with the player and I think he’s a big talent. But we’ve got four really good centre-backs here with big experience in Jonny Evans, Harry Maguire, Wes Morgan and Caglar Soyuncu.

“Filip is a top class young player but if he goes on loan again, I’d love him to return to Celtic. He needs to play and Celtic has been a great experience for him.”

Can he stay injury free?

The big thing that hampered Benkovic this season outside of Rodgers’ departure was his injury problems. A nasty ankle knock picked up in January had the Croat out until March. It wasn’t ideal, and Lennon has only played him three times since being appointed interim manager in February.

Benkovic’s injury problems have affected him (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Some supporters may even be against doing the deal. Such is the disdain for Rodgers given his departure, this could be seen as a way to soothe the tension. It certainly won’t work if that’s the case.

But having Benkovic back to help spearhead the nine-in-a-row challenge would be ideal. Celtic will be short on defenders next season as it stands, with both he and Dedryck Boyata looking set to depart. So having the Leicester man back would ease that glaring issue this summer.

Lennon hasn’t cared much for the loan signings (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Lennon hasn’t been a fan of the loan players since arriving in Glasgow. Along with playing Benkovic three times,  he’s given Oliver Burke six outings, Jeremy Toljan five games, and has already sent Timothy Weah back home. Hardly a ringing endorsement of the loan signings.

But if Lennon is the manager next term, he shouldn’t turn the nose up if Benkovic is offered back. It would sort out key cover in one of the centre-back positions, and he would instantly be a key part of the squad.