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BENKOVIC DEAL BLOW

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FILIP BENKOVIC will NOT be returning to Celtic on loan this month.

The Leicester City central defender was tipped for a second stint at the Hoops, but, instead, he is heading for OH Leuvren for the remainder of the season, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

The Belgian club have links to Brendan Rodgers’ Midlands outfit and have moved swiftly in an attempt to get the deal over the line.

Benkovic, 23, who had an impressive spell at Parkhead during the 2018/19 season, was on the look-out for a new club after being recalled early from Cardiff City by the ex-Celtic boss.

The Croatian back-four operator made only one substitute’s appearance for the Welsh side before returning to the King Power club with Rodgers keen for him to get game-time elsewhere. The Irishman admitted the Scottish champions would be a “great move” for the smooth back-four operator, as CQN reported.

It was clear the Hoops were keen on a Benkovic comeback with Neil Lennon searching for replacements in central defence with Christopher Jullien sustaining a knee injury in the 3-0 win over Dundee United 12 days ago that could keep him out for the rest of the campaign.

John Kennedy, the assistant gaffer, admitted: “Filip is one who we are very well aware of and have spoken about. We know what he is capable of, and he’s a guy who has been here and knows what it’s about.

“So he is certainly on a shortlist of options to strengthen the centre-back position.”

Unless there is a sensational turnaround, Benkovic is heading for Belgium to join sxith-placed OH Leuven until the end of the term.

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