Newcastle interested in another Celtic player – Reports
Newcastle have been linked with a number of Celtic players in recent seasons and the latest is Jozo Simunovic.
The centre-back turns 23 in August and has had a decent season as Celtic have strolled to a league and cup double, which could become a treble, against almost zero opposition.
Newcastle of course ended up gifting England international Fraser Forster to Celtic for next to nothing but the only player to recently move in the opposite direction is Stuart Findlay, the young defender released by Celtic and recruited by Rafa Benitez to beef up Newcastle’s reserve team.
Newcastle were linked strongly with moves for both Victor Wanyama and Virgil van Dijk in recent times but preferred to go for cheaper options overseas, whilst those players have proved massive successes when moving to the Premier League.
Celtic have done pretty well in picking up some young unknown talented players from clubs on the continent, before they then move on and make the big step up into English football.
The knack of course is to work out which of Celtic’s players don’t just look good because of the shocking standard of Scottish football.
Jozo Simunovic was recruited in summer 2015 for £3m from Dinamo Zagreb and this season has played 29 times for Celtic, including 22 times in the league, where they have conceded only 23 goals in 34 matches.
The Mail name Newcastle United as one of a number of English and continental clubs who have been watching the Croatian defender, with a view to making a move this summer.
A price tag of around £9m has been speculated for a player who has been a regular at Under 21 level but who is still to get a call-up for the senior Croatian set-up.
As an indication of just how poor the overall standard is in Scotland, Celtic’s player of the year is Scott Sinclair who has scored 21 goals in 28 league starts (plus 3 as sub), yet in his final four years in the Premier League only managed four goals.
Only one thing is certain and that is there is going to be a very difficult transfer market for Rafa Benitez to negotiate, though obviously every penny that Mike Ashley allows in his budget will help.
A meeting between owner and manager has been widely reported to be happening this week.
At least one new centre-back must be a priority, with only Ciaran Clark convincing totally that the step up to the Premier League can be a comfortable one.
Jamaal Lascelles has had an average season at best, although a newspaper exclusive on Tuesday morning has claimed that he will be having surgery today on a double hernia problem, which is said to have affected him for the past four months.
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