"Not as yet"; no Celtic approach has been made for Benkovic
According to the Scotsman, a source close to Celtic target Filip Benkovic is claiming that no movement has been made by the Bhoys.
The source was reportedly keen to add that Celtic hadn’t moved “as yet”. Indications are that Neil Lennon will want to bring the Croatian defender back to Celtic Park.
A Leicester City player, Benkovic spent the 18-19 season on loan at the Bhoys, making 27 appearances and winning a treble during his stay. His spell at the club was rather strange, however, being picked consistently by Brendan Rodgers, but not under Neil Lennon. Part of that is down to an injury the Croat picked up. Nonetheless, he was broadly available towards the end of the season.
Lennon reportedly reassured Benkovic of his qualities before the defender returned to Leicester City, where he was reunited with former boss Rodgers.
According to Benkovic himself (via Sports Novosti):
“I have spoken to Neil Lennon. He told me that he would like me to stay at Celtic for another season.
“During my time at Celtic, I have gained great experience. The Scottish Premiership is extremely intense and it was great playing in Europe. It’s helped me a lot.”
Celtic return would be welcome for stuttering star
Benkovic’s form since leaving Celtic has been rough, to say the least.
He’s only available now because of a failed spell at Cardiff City, where he only made one appearance while on loan (Transfermarkt). Benkovic only made 10 appearances in an earlier loan at Bristol City. Unfortunately for the Croat, his development has been stunted since his time in the East end of Glasgow.
Brendan Rodgers is said to be keen on the move. In quotes attributed to the Daily Record, the perma-tanned ex-Celtic boss said:
“It’s certainly a possibility. [Celtic]’s a huge club and he did very well there. We haven’t had any contact but he’s back now and we will see what happens.
“Celtic would be a great move for him. He’s at the age where he really needs to be playing and that didn’t quite materialise at Cardiff.
“I would never blame another manager for not playing someone because circumstances can change all the time but unfortunately it didn’t work out.
“It’s quite simple really, it’s now a case of finding somewhere where he can go next and get some game time.”
It seems like a matter of time before Celtic make their move. If you were to ask me, I’d suggest that this Scotsman exclusive is the result of someone in Benkovic’s camp attempting to lure the Bhoys into making an offer.
With Jullien out and Duffy under-performing, we clearly need a central defender. Why not Benkovic?