Celtic may yet have the chance to sign Filip Benkovic again this summer, but should they pull the trigger?
Last week, Brendan Rodgers sounded open to the possibility that Benkovic could leave Leicester again this summer.
Rodgers told the Leicester Mercury: “We will have a look in the summer. The idea was to get him out on loan where he can get experience and feel pressure.
“He obviously has been playing at Celtic with 60,000 plus and the weight of expectation to win every game, so he was going to be okay with pressure. That is what he has done, not so much the second half of the season, but we will take him back and have a look to see where we go from there.”
With Dedryck Boyata’s contract still set to expire this summer, many Bhoys fans will be hoping the club jumps at the chance to re-sign Benkovic, but here’s three reasons why they shouldn’t.
The Croatian could of course re-join the club on loan, but if they attempt a permanent move then it will be a costly one.
The Foxes signed Benkovic for around £13m (BBC) last summer, and after a fairly successful loan spell they will absolutely expect to make a profit on the youngster.
Anything around or above £13m is far too much for a permanent move given the other areas of Neil Lennon’s squad that need strengthening.
Fitness has also been a concern for the Croatian, featuring in just 18 of Celtic’s 33 league matches thus far due to various injuries, but mostly down to an ankle problem.
The 6 ft 4 centre back has played just three times since December, which is especially worrying given the sheer quantity of fixtures through the winter period, fixtures that are essential in the quest for silverware.
If Boyata leaves the Bhoys need a replacement they can trust, but with Benkovic’s ankle troubles it could be left to Jack Hendry to step in and replace the Belgian, which is worrying to say the least.
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Finally, Lennon and the club need to think about what is best for Kristoffer Ajer. The 20 year-old put in one of his best performances in green and white against Rangers last week, but he is still learning.
He has massive potential, but he needs an experienced leader next to him to guide him and show him the ropes, not someone who is equally inexperienced with just as much to learn.
With three years left on his contract, Ajer is the club’s future, and the focus this summer should be on finding a leadership presence to play alongside him, not another youngster to develop.