Celtic boss Neil Lennon has told The Scottish Sun that Jozo Simunovic was allowed to leave because the club are looking for a new centre back.
The Bhoys have announced two considerable exits, with Simunovic and veteran Jonny Hayes leaving the club despite playing first-team roles under Lennon.
Both players will become free agents, and Lennon must think about replacing them. In Hayes’ case, at least Celtic have Greg Taylor and Boli Bolingoli as left wing backs.
Yet with Simunovic, Celtic are a little short at centre back. They have Kristoffer Ajer and Christopher Jullien, but Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed aren’t natural defenders.
That means Celtic may dip back into the transfer market for a new defender, especially if Lennon intends to carry on playing a 3-5-2 system moving forward.
Now, Lennon has tackled the subject. He noted that both Hayes and Simunovic were great servants, but they’re looking to improve in those positions, and recruitment meetings were held on Thursday and Friday ahead of making signings.
Lennon noted that Celtic want ‘younger’ centre backs to arrive in Simunovic’s place, and admitted that they are looking at ‘three or four’ different types of defender to come in.
“First of all, those two were brilliant servants,” said Lennon. “We are looking to develop and improve the squad and those are two positions we’re looking at, as well as a few others. We had recruitment meetings on Thursday and Friday and hopefully we’ll get the ball rolling. That will create its own excitement. Recruitment is a big part of management. Nick Hammond and his team have been working hard, even over the last month or two. We should have a couple of potential targets in mind now we’ve had those meetings.”
“Jozo was also a great servant, but we’re looking to improve in those areas. That is a position we are looking at with younger ones to come in. We are looking at three or four different types of centre-half for that position,” he added.