Reported Derby County target Filip Benkovic has suggested his mind was set on a move to Bristol City from as early as mid-January, Leicester Mercury report.

The Rams were heavily linked with the Croatian throughout January (Northern Echo).

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

Many supporters at Pride Park were confident of Benkovic arriving at at the club on loan. The wait was seemingly down to Leicester finding a replacement.

But Benkovic has now told reporters he was excited by the move to Bristol City from when he first heard of their interest weeks before the transfer deadline.

I found out about interest from Bristol City a few weeks ago and I was really excited about that option. Now I’m here, I’m really grateful for that opportunity because the club has the opportunity to do something big. I’ll work hard every day.

Derby were in the market for a new central defender in January.

Manager Phillip Cocu is down to the bare bones. Richard Keogh’s sacking back in October left the club with only two natural centre-backs in Matt Clarke and Curtis Davies.

Right-back Andre Wisdom has featured in the middle in recent weeks. And, the former Liverpool defender has shown plenty of promise as a potential long-term centre-back.

But Derby were still after another addition to help bolster their squad.

Benkovic would have been an ideal option. The 22-year-old, who cost Leicester £13 million, is tall, strong in the tackle and comfortable playing the ball out from the back.

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

Bristol City, however, won the race for his signature. The Robins are sixth in the Championship table and Lee Johnson’s side are making a push for the playoffs.

Also see: Video: Reported Derby target involved in hilarious on-pitch blooper

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

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