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Celtic considering Filip Benkovic reunion

Celtic v Heart of Midlothian – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Filip Benkovic is on Celtic’s shortlist as they try to add a centre-back in January – but they may be set to miss out on the Leicester defender.

Assistant manager John Kennedy confirmed the club were considering an attempt to bring Benkovic back to Parkhead.

However, reports later claimed the Croatian was set to join Belgian side OH Leuven on loan.

Benkovic enjoyed a successful loan spell under both Brendan Rodgers and Neil Lennon in the 2018-19 season before being reunited with the former at the King Power Stadium.

The 23-year-old has only played once for Leicester and had a loan stint at Bristol City last season before making just one appearance on a temporary spell at Cardiff this term.

Rodgers is open to another loan move for the Croatian and Celtic are looking to fill the void caused by a knee injury to Christopher Jullien, which will rule him out for several months.

Kennedy said: “It’s probably a position now, with Christopher Jullien being injured, that we have to look at. We are a bit short in that area now.

“Filip is one who we are very well aware of and have spoken about. We know what he is capable of, and he’s a guy who has been here and knows what it’s about.

“So he is certainly on a shortlist of options to strengthen the centre-back position.”

When asked if they wanted to get a defender in quickly, Kennedy said: “We want to try and get it done as quickly as possible but it has to be right for everybody. It’s not always as easy as saying ‘that’s who we want’ and we go and do it.

“There are other clubs involved, the player themselves involved. I’m sure Filip or anyone else will have other options. It’s up to us if they are the right person for us, to try and convince them we are the right club for them too.”

Shane Duffy’s future came back into the spotlight after he left Celtic’s Dubai training camp early but there is no question of the defender’s loan spell being cut short.

“Shane will be very much with us,” Kennedy said. “We have no intention of sending him back to Brighton.”

Kennedy admitted a central defender was the primary target for Celtic.

“We have Mikey Johnston coming back from injury now,” he added. “We were a bit short in the wide positions for a period of the season there.

“James Forrest is continuing his rehab and is progressing well.

“So if there is anything else, maybe an extra wide player, but it’s not an easy position to find at the moment, especially mid-season. We will monitor that and if the right option becomes available, it could be a possibility.

“But the squad is strong. If we can add bits of quality around that, great, if not then we just have to get the head down and take the rest of the season on.”

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