BT Sport pundit: Celtic will be doomed if they sanction this £10m transfer
By Harry Sykes
Chris Sutton has urged Celtic to fend off all bids for defender Jozo Simunovic ahead of next Thursday’s transfer deadline.
The Croatian, 23, has been the subject of strong interest from Premier League club Burnley and big-spending Champions League outfit Spartak Moscow.
But BT Sport pundit Sutton insisted that Celtic should not be tempted to cash in on the £10million-rated ace despite his history of knee problems.
Simunovic has been troubled by injury during his two seasons at Parkhead but he is widely regarded as the team’s outstanding centre-back.
With Erik Sviatchenko and Dedryck Boyata also sidelined during the early weeks of the season, manager Brendan Rodgers has been forced to deploy midfielder Nir Bitton as an emergency centre-back, including in tandem with Norwegian rookie Ajer.
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Writing in his weekly Daily Record column, Sutton expressed his concern that his former side do not have the defensive personnel able to cope a challenging European campaign as well as defending their domestic treble.
“Rivaldo Coetzee is signing, but if he’s not ready to go straight in, there might need to be another signed,” said Sutton.
“Most importantly, Jozo Simunovic simply can’t be sold.
“The Croatian might have issues with one of his knees, but he’s still the best defender the club has and he cannot be allowed to leave, regardless of whether or not Burnley or anyone else want to put down £10 million.
“If he is, Celtic have to go and buy someone else because, although the manager seems to like Dedryck Boyata, I remain unconvinced for the elite level.”
Celtic have been drawn against European powerhouses Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, as well as Anderlecht, in the Champions League.
Domestically, they will look to secure their fourth consecutive win of the new Scottish Premiership campaign when they host St Johnstone this afternoon (Saturday).
In other Celtic transfer news, a mega-rich Champions League club have launched a £10million bid to sign a 23-year-old at Parkhead.