In our poll of center-backs we have been linked with this year, our readers prefer Harry Maguire of Hull and Michael Keane of Burnley in that order, with Ryan Shawcross of Stoke and Jozo Simunovic of Celtic in the next two places respectively.
And there’s news today in the Chronicle that Rafa Benitez does want to sign Jozo Simunovic, who is among his center-half targets.
We suppose who comes in this summer depends on what kind of deal the club can get for our targets, because some clubs will be demanding ridiculous fees for some of their best players.
Jozo Simunovic – 22 year-old Celtic center-back
The 22-year-old Croatian looks a very good young player at 22 and he had a very good second season with the Scottish giants.
Celtic were unbeaten in the Scottish Premiership with a massive 106 points from 38 games and won the league by 30 points from Aberdeen.
They dropped only 8 points all season with 4 draws – those must have been four off days.
It used to be a two club league in Scotland, but until Rangers get back to challenging Celtic, it looks like it’s been a one club league over the last several years.
The Newcastle scouts have watched Simunovic quite a few times this season and the Chronicle reports they have been impressed with the Croatian’s play.
He would cost around £10M, but that could be chicken-feed compared to what he could be worth if Rafa makes him into a top player in England.
Just remember when we balked at paying out £13M for Virgil van Dijk, a target of ours a few years ago when he was also at Celtic, before he moved to Southampton two years ago.
Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, West Brom, Crystal Palace, Sevilla and Espanyol are also said to be interested in the Croatian U21 International.
It wouldn’t surprise us if Rafa brings in two center-backs this season and if we do sign Simunovic it probably means that Rafa will bring in a second center-back with plenty of Premier League experience.
Grant Hanley will be leaving the club this summer and if we get two center-backs in then maybe Chancel Mbemba could also leave the club, although he still seems to love it at Newcastle, even through he got precious little playing time last season under Rafa,
Here’s our poll on which center-backs our readers want and maybe Harry Maguire and Jozo Simunovic would be two excellent signings for us – and they are both young with vast potential.
What do you think?