Why keeping Jozo Simunovic is a sensible idea by Brendan Rodgers
However, Brendan Rodgers has issued a “hands-off” warning to any team thinking about luring away one of his central defenders.
“I wouldn’t encourage a move for any player. We need as many of them here for as long as we can to help us. So at this moment in time we wouldn’t be overly interested,” said the manager.
It’s a wise decision by Rodgers to keep Simunovic at the club. He’s a classy defender who still has a role to play with the Bhoys.
One of the key reasons to keep him at Paradise right now is the absence of Mikael Lustig and Dedryck Boyata. Both of them shined in the World Cup, defending the colours of Sweden and Belgium respectively, and will miss the Champions League games against Armenian side Alashkert.
Depending on the holidays they receive, they might even miss more matches if Celtic manage to eliminate their first opponents in the European competition. Simunovic will be needed for cover in those games, as well as during the course of the campaign.
The Croatian defender spent a lot of time on the sidelines last season, not least because of injury problems. The former U21 international remains a really decent player though. He’s strong, smart and not afraid to get stuck in challenges.
It’s clear he won’t be Rodgers’ first pick, with the Northern Irishman preferring a defensive duo consisting of Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer.
But Simunovic played well in the pre-season friendlies against Bohemians, Vorwarts Steyr and Sparta Prague in Austria, and showed everybody that he’s ready to fight for his place in the first-team.
Another reason to keep the former Dinamo Zagreb man at Parkhead is the sale of Erik Sviatchenko, who joined FC Midtjylland in Denmark.
Given Boyata’s strong performances for Belgium at the World Cup, interest in him may increase. Lazio are already sniffing around and it might be hard for Celtic to keep him in Glasgow.
Brendan Rodgers simply can’t afford to lose more defenders, especially with the Champions League fixtures knocking on the door. Should he manage to stay fit, Jozo Simunovic may have a serious role to play at Celtic. It makes sense to keep him around and not accept any bids for him.