Since picking up an injury at Celtic in January 2019, Filip Benkovic has completed five full league games, all for Bristol City. The Leicester City player has made cup appearances, been used as an occasional substitute and seen lots of reserve football; there was only a short-term injury to mitigate the lack of game time in the intervening period. This week his loan period at Cardiff City was terminated after his first and last appearance came against Wycombe a week ago.
He arrived on loan at Celtic in the summer of 2018 and looked every inch the 21-year-old prodigy. He is 9 months older than Kristoffer Ajer and at that point was clearly more accomplished than our current most valuable defensive asset.
Kris has kicked on significantly in the years since, at 22, he is without doubt the best central defender to play in Scotland since Virgil van Dijk. Filip will have earned more money than Kris, but even money will be no consolation, as unless he stages an unlikely turnaround at Leicester, his expected career earnings will be less than Kris’s.
There is a morality tale here, although it will be impossible for anyone to learn from it. Filip left Dinamo Zagreb for the kind on money only available in England, irresistible to club and player. His subsequent lack of progress will inhibit no one from following.
Having watched him perform, you and I know more about the player than most, there is certainly potential, although clearly there is more to the picture than was evident from his season at Celtic. We have to assume people in Bristol and Cardiff saw a less impressive picture; potential is not always fulfilled. Would you take him? Of course you would, don’t even try to deny it.