Brendan Rodgers welcomed Jozo Simunovic back to Celtic “with open arms” and suggested fate could have been behind his failed move to Torino.
The 22-year-old Croatian defender travelled to Italy for a medical, but the transfer collapsed late on deadline day.
Some reports claimed that the Serie A club had reservations following the medical checks, but Simunovic, using his Twitter account, stressed that his results were “perfect” and that his “head is in Celtic and I am 100 per cent focused on the field and the challenges ahead”.
The former Dinamo Zagreb player, who moved to Parkhead a year ago, has not played since January after suffering a knee injury, but he has recently resumed training.
Speaking to CelticTV, Celtic manager Rodgers was asked if Simunovic would have the opportunity to challenge for a place in the side.
He said: “Yes. I haven’t seen a lot of Jozo, so I haven’t seen his entire qualities, but he is just coming back to fitness.
“He has trained a couple of times with the team and I like what I see.
“He obviously has a long way to go in terms of that physical fitness as he has been out for so long.
“But he is a young player, he is very hungry. I like him as a boy.
“Obviously the move didn’t work out for him or the club, but maybe it was fate.
“Maybe he is meant to be back here, playing, working and we welcome him with open arms back to here and let’s see if he can produce good performances for Celtic.”