By Aramide Oladipo
Celtic refused to sell defender Jozo Simunovic on the final day of the transfer window despite interest from five top-flight clubs, according to a report.
The Scottish Sun claims that English Premier League outfits Watford, Crystal Palace, Burnley and Leicester City including Russia side Spartak Moscow all attempted deadline deals for the 23-year-old but the Hoops were not interested.
The central defender has become an integral part of the Celtic first-team since securing a permanent move from Dinamo Zagreb two years ago.
Simunovic endured a tough start to his playing career in Scotland as he suffered a series of injuries during his debut campaign with the Hoops where he only managed to feature in 11 matches in all competitions.
The Croatian made a recovery from his setback and enjoyed a better spell last season, making a total of 33 appearances and helping the Hoops complete a historic domestic treble.
The defender has started the new campaign in fine style, playing the full 90 minutes in seven matches and helping Celtic achieve six clean sheets in the process.
The Croatian international’s current contract at Celtic Park expires in 2020.
Football Insider verdict
Celtic will be delighted that they have managed to fend off interest from a host of Premier League sides to keep hold of Simunovic this summer. The defender seems to be improving game by game and he will no doubt play a massive part in the Hoops quest to secure a second consecutive domestic treble this season. Celtic will be relieved that a bigger club didn’t come knocking for the centre-back’s signature this summer because they might have faced a difficult task to retain his services. With the window now shut until January, the club and player can now focus on the campaign ahead without the dreaded speculation.
In other Celtic news, Guardiola pulled the plug after Celtic agree terms of £8m transfer.