Burnley move for Celtic's Jozo Simunovic - can he replace Michael Keane?
Burnley manager Sean Dyche is allegedly considering a move for Celtic’s £10 million-rated centre-back Jozo Simunovic as he looks to tighten his back-four, according to reports in the Scottish Sun.
After losing key-man Michael Keane to top-flight rivals Everton earlier in the summer, Dyche has £25 million at his disposal to spend – should he want to – and a vast gap to fill in his defensive line.
But a move for the burly Bosnian won’t come easy, with Celtic manager Brendan Rogers adamant that the 23-year-old will not be allowed to leave with the Champions League group stages looming.
Would Simunovic slot in well at Turf Moor?
As soon as it was announced that Michael Keane would be leaving the club for Everton you could almost hear the groan around Turf Moor that arguably their best player from last season has gone.
The Clarets’ season has started in frustrating, if not brilliant, fashion; an astonishing opening day victory over champions Chelsea was followed up by a scrappy, dull and narrow defeat to West Brom, a team that boss Sean Dyche would no doubt think they should be beating – especially at home.
And the one thing clear from Saturday’s defeat to the Baggies is that there needs to be more solidity and bite in the heart of the Burnley back-line, with a need for a defender that’ll intimidate attackers.
They should look no further than Celtic’s powerhouse defender Simunovic then, with the young Croatian-turned-Bosnian showing more than enough potential that he can succeed over in England.
Born in Croatia, he has represented their national side at every single age group from Under-14 onwards, showing his innate sense of leadership after captaining the Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 sides in recent years, and he’s a player that loves to communicate and keep things tight.
Perhaps the biggest gap left by Keane’s absence is that there’s no longer a confident ball-player within their defence, somebody who can drive into the midfield, and Simunovic could plug this gap.
It’s a potential long-shot, with Celtic keen on keeping the 23-year-old, but the persuasive powers that the Premier League holds – and the fact it’s a more competitive league – could play a big role.