Major twist in Celtic transfer chase for Filip Benkovic

Filip Benkovic, Celtic. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Filip Benkovic, Celtic. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images) /

There appears to be a major twist in Celtic’s transfer chase to bring back Filip Benkovic just hours after it had looked like a deal was inevitable.

Following Christopher Jullien’s injury against Dundee United which will keep him out for three to four months, it became clear that Celtic needed to sign a centre-back in January. To be honest, they needed one already even before the Frenchman’s injury but now it became a glaring necessity.

Till now, it had looked like Filip Benkovic was going to be the man who was going to fill that void. The Croatian had already spent a decent loan spell at Parkhead but had struggled after returning to Leicester City. And after his loan spell with Cardiff City was recently cut short due to a lack of opportunities, joining the Hoops in order to revive his career looked like a logical move.

Unfortunately, it looks like that won’t be happening. As reported by the Daily Mail, he is set to join Belgian side OH Leuven:

"Leicester City defender Filip Benkovic is joining Belgian side OH Leuven on a season loan. The 23-year-old returned from a loan spell with Cardiff City last week and had been discussed as an option by Scottish champions Celtic. Benkovic previously had a loan spell at Celtic in the 2018-19 season."

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This comes as quite a shock after the recent discussions surrounding the defender. Reports had suggested that the two clubs were working on a loan deal with an option to buy at the end of the season.

Brendan Rodgers himself had admitted in public that a move to Parkhead could be on the cards for Benkovic. And even John Kennedy had name checked the Croatian while speaking with the media. But it looks like Neil Lennon in unsure about making a move for the 23-year-old and Leicester City have decided not to waste any time by finding him a new home with OH Leuven.

It is hard to decide how to feel about this situation. On one hand, Celtic might have dodged a bullet by not going for someone who has had his injury issues and not featured much recently. On the other, they have missed the opportunity to sign someone who has proven he can perform in the Scottish Premiership. Guess only time will tell.

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