CELTIC have issued a “hands off” warning on Jozo Simunovic with reports Torino are about to launch a new bid for the player next month.
The Serie A outfit believed they had signed the Croatian central defender in August, but the proposed deal fell through on the last day of the transfer window.
However, even if the Italians offered something in the region of £10million, the Hoops’ valuation of the former Dinamo Zagreb star, they will be wasting their time.
The 22-year-old is now dovetailing with Erik Sviatchenko in the heart of the champions’ rearguard and has become a key member of Brendan Rodgers’ squad.
Asked if Torino would be knocked back if they renewed their interest, Hoops first team coach John Kennedy answered: “Yes, we want to keep him here.
“That’s important. He’s a big player for us now and he’s shown that in the last couple of Champions League games. He’s a top player and we want to keep our best players.

“Jozo is a top centre-back. Even when we looked at him, away back when he was at Zagreb, he was the one everyone agreed was the best option.

“When you’re talking about bringing in quality, he is that. He’s one that you bring in to improve the team.

“He’s been terrific, a fantastic boy to work with. He has a great attitude, super professional. Everything he does is for his career and for the good of this club.

“He is in a good position at the moment, so it is just about maintaining that for him. He had a long period out last year, but he has certainly looked strong since he came back.”

Kennedy added: “He’s got the height, the strength, the speed and technically he’s very good.

“On top of that, he’s got a fantastic attitude. Nowadays proper centre-backs are very hard to come by.

“You get a lot of centre-backs now who don’t really want to defend and that becomes a problem for you when you are put under pressure.

“But he’s certainly one that likes to put his head in. He makes tackles, but he can play when need be.”
*BERTIE AULD has signed a limited number of copies of That Season in Paradise and these are available now from www.cqnbookstore.com – all orders are posted immediately so still time to receive for Christmas presents etc
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