Manager Lee Johnson has admitted Bristol City had a verbal agreement to sign reported Derby County target Filip Benkovic from early January, Bristol Post report.

Derby were heavily linked with a move for Benkovic in January.

(Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images).

The Telegraph reported back in December how the Rams would push to sign the Leicester City defender on loan until the end of the season.

But Lee Johnson now claims his Bristol City side had a verbal agreement to sign him.

He [Filip Benkovic] was an important one. At the start of the window when we confirmed a verbal, we had circumstances going into that. Three or four losses on the spin, Baker (had a knock), Kalas (injured). To commit to that back line is important.

Did Leicester tag Derby County along throughout January?

The Foxes were seemingly willing to loan out Benkovic the moment they signed a replacement. Derby waited and waited, with many expecting a quicker resolution.

Leicester eventually signed Ryan Bennett from Wolverhampton Wanderers. Benkovic, however, ended up at Ashton Gate rather than at Pride Park.

Derby made signing a new central defender a top priority in January. It appears they were confident of getting Benkovic right up until the final days of the window.

(Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images).

Then, Phillip Cocu’s side saw late reported attempts for Bournemouth’s Jack Simpson (Sky Sports) and Groningen’s Mike te Wierik (RTVNoord) fall short.

If Derby had known Benkovic wasn’t an option from early January, then chances are they would have managed to add another defender before the transfer deadline.

Also see: Regret for league rivals as Derby ace could now fetch 7-figures after 2016 release

Also see: Latest Cocu decision raises questions over £2.7m player’s Derby future

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