As reported by The Scottish Sun, Newcastle United are hovering Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic squad this summer and are ready to make their move for one the brightest prospects in Scottish football.
Alongside bringing in players of quality, one of the key aims for Rodgers in the summer transfer window will be retaining his best talent. Given the nature of their impressive season, clubs across Europe have been circling Celtic Park looking to pick off the best of their title-winning squad.
One such club is Newcastle, say The Scottish Sun, who are hoping to tempt the Hoops into selling Croatian defender Jozo Simunovic, a defender gaining plaudits for his performances this season.
The paper reports that the 22 year old is valued at £9m and that he’s at the top of Rafa Benitez’s transfer wishlist.
Another name making that list may be more surprising. Efe Ambrose doesn’t have the reputation for being a Premier League calibre player, but is reported to also be on the radar of the Magpies.
There’s little doubt amongst Celtic supporters that Simunovic has all the attributes to be an elite defender. He’s become something of a cult hero with Hoops fans with his no nonsense approach to defending and his ability to bring the ball out of defence with his feet and transition into the midfield.
One particular tackle on Kenny Miller, which you can see above in the last meeting with Rangers will go down in club folklore. That tough tackling and physical presence could make him a hit at Newcastle, who badly need defensive reinforcements this summer if they are to make a splash in the top-flight.
At just 22 years old he still has plenty of learning to do and the likelihood is he’ll only get better and better.
Efe Ambrose doesn’t have the best of reputations in Scotland and while that might be an unfair reflection on his ability as a footballer, the fact remains he has made some high profile errors for Celtic over the years.
Still, a successful spell at Hibernian appears to have rejuvenated him and when he keeps the obvious mistakes out of his game, he’s actually not a half bad defender.
The Sun reckon Newcastle see his 51 caps for Nigerian and UEFA Champions League experience as a massive positive. Also a positive will be the fact he is out of contract come the summer, meaning Rafa Benitez can divert resources elsewhere.
Whether he has what it takes to be effective in the Premier League remains in doubt. We’re sure it would be interesting to say the least.