Simunovic can be new Van Dijk, says Deila

Celtic boss Ronny Deila believes new signing Jozo Simunovic can be as good if not better than Virgil van Dijk.

The defender moved to Celtic Park on transfer deadline day in a £5.5 million deal as Van Dijk sealed a £13m switch to Southampton.

And Deila says the 21-year-old Simunovic can emulate his predecessor at centre-back.

“I think he has the potential,” said the Norwegian. “I gave a lot of credit to Virgil last year and I did it because I really meant that he is a top player.

“We have scouted Jozo for a long time and we think he has the attributes that means we can make him a big player.

“But he is 21 and it will take some time to get to the highest level, of course. But we know that we have got a very talented boy.

“I’m happy for Virgil.

He added: “Now we have new players in and we are looking forward to them and hopefully get a new Virgil van Dijk or even better.”

New signing Simunovic says he doesn’t feel burdened by the weight of expectation after his big money move to the Hoops.

I don’t feel pressure. I believe in myself and money for me is not important. It is only important that I play well.

“It was my first day at training and we will see what the coach will decide [about Saturday]. But I believe in myself and believe I can play in this team.”

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