Brendan Rodgers: Celtic set to seal deal for Dortmund right back Jeremy Toljan
Rodgers hopes to make at least one more signing before the January window closes at midnight with 24-year-old Toljan, who joined Dortmund from Hoffenheim for £6 million in 2017, understood to be his priority target.
“We won’t be overly busy,” said Rodgers after watching his side beat St Johnstone 2-0 at Celtic Park to move six points clear of Rangers and Kilmarnock at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
“We know specifically what we want, so hopefully we can do that. We would hope we could get at least another one in.”
Rodgers confirmed that on-loan Leicester City central defender Filip Benkovic will be sidelined for around six weeks with the ankle injury he suffered last weekend. It had initially been feared Benkovic’s season might be over, forcing Celtic to try and recruit another central defender before the transfer deadline.
But Rodgers praised the performance of Jozo Simunovic, who replaced Benkovic last night as Celtic racked up a fourth consecutive clean sheet, while Jack Hendry will no longer be allowed to leave on loan for the rest of the season.
“It will initially be four to five weeks for Filip,” said Rodgers.
“He will have his ankle in a protective boot. We will assess it after four weeks, then it will take another week to 10 days to get back into training again. He will stay with us.
“It’s disappointing but Jozo Simunovic came in and was excellent tonight. He was concentrated, alert and passed it well. When he’s like that, he’s a very good player. Filip’s injury could change the plan for Jack. We wanted to get him out for games but I need to ensure our squad is covered before anyone else’s. We will assess that on Thursday morning and see where it is at.”
Ukrainian winger Maryan Shved was in attendance at Celtic Park last night and should complete his £1.5m move. The 21-year-old will then be loaned back to Karpaty Lviv for the rest of the season.
Rodgers, meanwhile, is hopeful captain Scott Brown will end speculation about his future by signing a new contract at the club. It’s believed Brown has decided to reject the opportunity to move to Australia and join Western Melbourne.
“I don’t believe anything is finalised yet,” added Rodgers. “But Scott is very happy here and we have given him the time. Scott is back to fitness and it would be brilliant for the club, his team-mates and me if he stays. He has been a brilliant captain and hopefully he will sign.”
Rodgers expressed his satisfaction at Celtic’s performance against St Johnstone as goals from Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie maintained their 100 percent winning record at home in the league this season.
“I was delighted with the performance,” said Rodgers. “It’s still very early in the season, there are still a lot of games to go. We’re only just about to go into February. But everyone has looked at this game in hand for a few months and wondered if we were going to win it against a good side. We did that.
“It’s a six-point lead, which is nice, with a good goal difference. It was another clean sheet and we are defending very well.”