The 27-year-old impressed for Croatia at the World Cup, playing every game until Saturday’s third-place play-off against Morocco, and is expected to leave Celtic Park when the winter transfer window opens next month.
Previously monitored by Leicester City, Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid, La Liga giants Barcelona have now come to the table. The former Legia Warsaw player, signed by Celtic for just £2million in the summer of 2021, is on the Catalan club’s shortlist of players to sign in January as they look to rebuild their squad under manager Xavi despite working under financial fair play restrictions.
What could count against Barcelona is Celtic’s asking price. The defending cinch Premiership champions are keen to make a sizeable profit on Juranovic and aware of the strong interest from a number of clubs, it is anticipated that they will demand at least £20m for his services. Due to FFP rules, Barcelona may have to sell some of their current squad in order to bring in new players and that may allow their Spanish rivals Atletico to pounce, with Diego Simeone making no secret of his desire to reinforce his defensive options.
Celtic have already prepared for Juranovic’s exit with the signing of Canadian right-back Alistair Johnston for £3m from Montreal CF. The 24-year-old, who also starred at the World Cup, will vie with Anthony Ralston to be Juranovis’ long-term successor.
The Croat’s team-mate Carl Starfelt admitted on Monday that there is acceptance that the club’s best players will leave for pastures new eventually. “Josip is a really good player,” said the Swede. “Of course you want your best players to stay, but we know how football works. Players come and go. It’s about doing the best with the squad you have. As a player, you learn to live by the reality and not react to rumours.”
“It was really good to see players from Scotland doing well at the World Cup. It was Josip, yes, but also the other guys. You could see that they could all do a lot in the highest of competitions. It was really good to see, for Celtic and for Scottish football.
“We know Josip is a really good player. He has done well with us and with the Croatian national team for a long time now. You shouldn’t take a medal at the World Cup for granted. It is a huge thing. I am really happy for him, and pleased to see that his performances in Qatar were top-class.
“I watched a lot of matches with the Celtic players. It is a bit more fun to watch when our guys are playing. I was impressed with all of them. Everyone went through the group stages, which is pretty amazing.”