2019 Celtic-linked Husein Balic bags first Austria cap after discussing speculation on his future
Reported 2019 Celtic target Husein Balic’s stock is growing after being given his first senior cap with Austria last night.
Balic was linked with a potential £700k switch to Parkhead just months after Neil Lennon has been given the manager’s job permanently over 18 months ago (Daily Mail).
Over the weekend, the Mail on Sunday reported that both Southampton and Brentford are now seriously interested in the winger, who has been starring for LASK both domestically and in Europe. The Mail also stated that Celtic had been tracking the winger “in recent months”.
And after a sparkling start to the season in which Balic has provided seven direct goal contributions in 14 games for LASK (Transfermarkt), he’s now been given the honour of a first cap for Austria. Balic’s 32-minute cameo against Luxembourg last night was a big step for him, just hours after discussing his long-term future.
As quoted by Reprezentacija, Balic said: “I also read that in the media (Southampton and Brentford’s interest).
“We need to wait and see how much truth there is in all this, that is, how concrete it is. But I don’t care much for that. I focus now only on the national team and my club. The work needs to be done on the pitch in the right way, and we will see if there is an offer.”
Nothing concrete so far
So there appears to be nothing concrete so far in the race to snap Balic up. Considering he only signed for LASK back in January, it’s a surprise to see him linked with moves away so soon. Perhaps it’s a sign of how good he’s been in his homeland.
Celtic, for example, were linked when he was with previous club St Polten. Therefore, any hopes of securing him for £700k now look dead and buried. Even if LASK don’t sell for big-money, they’ll have a decent valuation for their star asset. The Daily Mail reports that he’s worth £2.8million these days.
But there’s also no denying that the Hoops are in desperate need of depth down the flanks. Lennon has continuously had to move central-suited players out wide at times this season – Ryan Christie especially.
Therefore, the prospect of bringing in a player with the pace of Balic for below £3m still represents good value. He wouldn’t come in and be one for the future. He would have to be good enough to sort out our cover issues down the left immediately.
However, with Mikey Johnston on his way back along with Mohamed Elyounoussi still fit and firing, the Hoops may hold off in adding another left-winger. The priority may come down the right, where we currently have no natural options available thanks to injuries to James Forrest and Jeremie Frimpong.
That would be an issue for Balic, who is a natural left-winger with next to no experience on the opposite flank. Let’s see if this one picks up any a head of steam in January.