Man Utd’s Maguire failure prompted Leicester star to make Celtic move
Filip Benkovic has admitted he asked to join Celtic on loan from Leicester as soon as it became apparent the Foxes had no interest in selling Harry Maguire to Manchester United.
With the clock ticking down on the transfer window, United were strongly linked with a move to sign Maguire, who had seen his profile raise significantly at the World Cup.
But Leicester refused to entertain thoughts of selling Maguire, despite reports Jose Mourinho’s side were prepared to spend as much as £60million to bring the centre-half to Old Trafford.
And that decision to retain Maguire’s services left Benkovic to review his own future at the club, despite only arriving less than a month earlier in a £13million deal from Dinamo Zagreb.
Realising he’d be some way down Claude Puel’s pecking order at the King Power Stadium, Benkovic sought a move away and told the Daily Record he had no hesitation in joining Celtic once the Scottish champions came calling.
“I was at Leicester for three weeks and it was great. The price tag was nothing to do with me,” the 21-year-old said.
“But I didn’t want to spend all season on the bench so I spoke to the manager and told him how much I respect the club, but I want to improve and the only way to do that is to get games.
“I’m young, I need the minutes on the park and the manager agreed with me.
“I want to play as much as possible, so a season-long loan with Celtic was agreed and Leicester has the option of recalling me in the winter.
“There were other loan options – clubs in Italy, Spain and Germany, but I just wanted to go to Celtic.
“I think this is the best option for me for preparing for football in England and their Premier League – that’s why I am delighted to go to Celtic.
“Because Leicester didn’t sell Harry Maguire, I knew this would be what happened to me.
“Going to Celtic gives me up to a year to adapt to British football so I am looking at this loan very positively.”
Leicester to have the option to recall Benkovic in January but it seems the Foxes, barring injury – or a change of heart over Maguire – will be happy to let the young Croatian see out the season in Glasgow.