Josip Juranovic Celtic sale value unmoved after Croatia World Cup stalemate

Matchsticks might well be required to wedge open eyelids by any scouts that choose to analyse Croatia’s World Cup opener with Morocco as they weigh up a potential move for Celtic’s Josip Juranovic.

Croatia defender Josip Juranovic, of Celtic, is tracked by Morocco's Abde Ezzalzouli during the World Cup Group F clash at the Al-Bayt Stadium, Qatar. (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)
Croatia defender Josip Juranovic, of Celtic, is tracked by Morocco's Abde Ezzalzouli during the World Cup Group F clash at the Al-Bayt Stadium, Qatar. (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)

Not as the result of the right-back’s endeavours - he was one of the more composed performers for his country. More a consequence of the application from the Moroccans that comprehensively stiffled a team considered one of the outside bets for the competition. And led to a third scoreless draw within 24 hours in Qatar.

It wasn’t a contest for any participant to burnish their reputations, but Juranovic’s display won’t have done his standing any harm. It has become apparent that the attacking full-back, while always respectful of his club, wouldn’t be averse to a move in the January window to a more prestigious environment. Just as significantly, that appears precisely the stance of Celtic and their manager. Ange Postecoglou has made plain his desire to raise funds through sales in the short-term to allow him – relentlessly – to evolve and develop his squad. Juranovic’s profile and pedigree would appear to place him at the front of the conveyor belt of sales required to do that.

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The quicksilver Celtic performer was one of only three members of the Croatian starting line-up at the Al Bayt Stadium not to be berthed in any of the big five leagues for his day job. If that is to change for him, and the Scottish champions are to rake in an £15m uptick on the £2.5m fee paid to Legia Warsaw for his services in August last year, the sense is a move has to be engineered across the next two windows. Juranovic will be 28 on his next birthday, the point where the values of all but the game’s real virtuosos begin to drop.

The defender, while rarely able to charge down his flank and whip over inviting crosses against the north Africans – he had only one such moment early in the second period – demonstrated the assuredness and technical solidity that were integral to him proving such an exhilarating performer across his debut season in Scotland. He was tidy, exhibited controlled aggression and his touch was on the money. Notably, whatever problems the opposition posed, tended to come down the opposite flank. Indeed, Sofiane Boufal got so little change out of him, the attacker was replaced in 65 minutes.

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The reported interest in Juranovic from Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United during the close season won’t have been doused by how at ease he appeared at the highest level. He perhaps hasn’t hit the heights of his first year this season, but he remains an archetypal modern full-back. Moreover, if looking from the Celtic angle, Anthony Ralston’s recent strong showings – Juranovic has played in only one of the club’s past six league games, despite featuring for every minute of their Champions League campaign – Postecoglou is likely to consider him an individual he could afford to lose. Providing the price is right, of course. A scenario in which the Australian would back himself to unearth an upgrade. In the 57-year-old’s tunnel-vision world, there is no room for sentiment. Or stasis.

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