Celtic can't afford another Giakoumakis-like situation as Chris Jullien nears return
As Christopher Jullien closes in on his Celtic return, it’s difficult not to draw comparisons with the Giorgos Giakoumakis scenario.
Giakoumakis signed for Celtic on deadline day without a pre-season to his name. It’s since taken him over a month to get up to speed, and even now, 42 days later, we’ve still to see him play anymore than a brief cameo.
The reason for this was clear even if it was largely frustrating. Giakoumakis hadn’t played a competitive game since May. In fact he hadn’t played any football since then. He needed a period to get himself up to a suitable fitness level that would allow him to play regularly for Celtic.
Celtic fans will be hoping this saga is about to end. As we ened our second international break since Giakoumakis signed for the club, we’re expecting him to be ready and determined to make an impact from Saturday onwards.
Meanwhile, another fresh face will be returning to the fold in Jullien. He’s been out since December 2020 with a knee injury that required surgery and lengthy rehab. Therefore, it’s been 10 months since Jullien’s last game.
Ange Postecoglou stated before the international break that the Frenchman would return to full training after the break and that again it would simply be about getting him up to full speed [Scottish Sun].
Chris Jullien closing in on Celtic return, but how long will it really take?
Given he’s been out for 10 months, he’s also going to need a period to get his fitness levels up. That’s to be expected, and it’s something the Celtic fans will afford him.
But at the same time, we can’t be sitting here after the November internationals wondering where the former Toulouse man is. Having him in and around matchday squads yet not featuring on a regular basis for the team.
It’s the kind of saga that frustrates fans more than anything. It always comes across as though there’s more to the situation than meets the eye. It’s always bizarre when players make matchday squads yet still aren’t deemed “ready” to make an impact.
Celtic fans have been craving the return of Jullien for some time. He’s essential when it comes to having key centre-back cover. Some will want him thrown straight back into the team when he returns too.
Yes, there has to be some patience levels there. Jullien won’t start against Motherwell or Ferencvaros next week. This is going to be a relatively slow burner for now to give him the time to build up his levels in full training.
But at the same time, Postecoglou needs to speed this along as much as he can. Celtic fans will start to get angry if it drags out in similar fashion to the Giakoumakis fitness saga. Fingers crossed it won’t be anything like it.
In other news, Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster talks up Celtic man Joe Hart