Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughNew Boy Jozo Šimunović Has A Gap To Fill At Celtic - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough New Boy Jozo Šimunović Has A Gap To Fill At Celtic - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

New Boy Jozo Šimunović Has A Gap To Fill At Celtic

Bhoy Šimunović

With the departure of centre back Virgil van Dijk to Southampton, Celtic believe they have found a young replacement in Jozo Šimunović, a 21 year old Croatian defender who has made 52 appearances and 3 goals for the senior Dinamo Zagreb club. Šimunović is one of the hottest centre back prospects in Europe and Celtic wanted to make sure they had his signature with a rough estimate of £5.5 million spent on the youngster.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila has been quick to praise his new centre back, who has only made one appearance for the club since signing on September 1st due to an ankle issue that has been nagging him for weeks. Though it remains to be seen whether the big money spent on a 21-year old will serve as a suitable replacement, he made a very solid effort in his one appearance against Ajax in the Europa League.

Deila will be counting on Šimunović to perform a lot of cleanup work along the back line as well as manufacture counter attacks moving forward up the pitch. In his first appearance against Ajax, Šimunović appeared to mark his man well, not giving much room for the attackers to move and he also cleared his lines and made swift passes to teammates to move forward in attack.

While 90 minutes of football isn’t enough to decide whether the money spent was worth the gamble on Šimunović, Celtic have been sloppy and very exposed in their back line since van Dijk left the club. Since the ankle injury to the Croatian, Efe Ambrose has been his replacement and his form has not helped matters for the Glasgow side.

The problems in the back four may also include a leader type role for the 21 year old to step into, at least when it comes to managing the centre of the pitch. Šimunović has been called up this week to the Croatian side as a reserve, so as long as he continues to battle back and stay out of harms way throughout the weekend, he should be able to make his second appearance for the Hoops when they play Motherwell at Fir Park on October 17th.

Until then, Celtic fans will have to keep an eye out and be patient finding a replacement for Virgil van Dijk (who took a shot at Celtic and Scottish football this past week). Šimunović seems to have what it takes to make the jump up to a big club like Celtic and he should serve them well going forward.


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