By Harry Sykes
Newcastle are keeping close tabs on Celtic defender Jozo Simunovic, according to a report.
The Mail claim Rafael Benitez’s team are closely monitoring the centre-back, 22, but face competition for his signature from Crystal Palace.
Simunovic was set for a £4million summer move to Torino but the deal broke down at the eleventh hour after the Italians tried to change the structure of the payments and raised concerns about a knee injury he suffered last season.
In a statement released via his personal Twitter account, the Croatian denied that the move fell through because he failed a medical and insisted that he would put the failed move behind him and concentrate on giving his best for Celtic.
— Jozo Šimunović (@SimunovicJozo) September 1, 2016
Simunovic has made five appearances for Celtic this season after recovering from a knee injury that sidelined him for much of his debut campaign.
The former Croatia Under-21 international is highly regarded by manager Brendan Rodgers and is in contention to start Sunday’s Scottish League Cup semi-final clash against Rangers.
“He is a big talent,” said Rodgers. “If you look at his profile, he is 6ft 3in, he is very dominant, strong, quick, can serve the ball and for a young player shows a wonderful mentality.
“He is a player I really like and hopefully he can stay fit.”
In other Newcastle transfer news, the club’s midfielder move has been placed on ice.