Celtic should go back in for Luka Ivanusec, the goalscoring midfielder to replace Ryan Christie

By Euan Davidson

March 2, 2021

It seems inevitable that Celtic will lose Ryan Christie.

Many fans won’t shed a tear about this, but there are plenty of us who rate the Scotsman. Yes, he’s more than capable of hitting shots into Row ZZ (row Z isn’t that bad, really) when there’s a good move developing. He can be frustrating, no doubt. Sometimes, when the pass is on, it feels like Christie has tunnel-vision.

However, by a number of metrics, he’s actually been one of our better performers this season. With 4 goals and 8 assists this season, he’s not been ultra-productive but he’s certainly contributed. More pertinently, he’s probably done enough to earn himself a move, which is the way the tide seems to be turning with the ex-Inverness man.

That being the case, it’s time to look for replacements. Celtic almost signed a Croatian star in 2019, by the name of Luka Ivanusec [Sun]. In the nearly 2 years since, Ivanusec has become an international, but is still rated at under £5m by Transfermarkt.

It’s time to reignite our interest.

Luka Ivanusec of Dinamo Zagreb / (Photo by Slavko Midzor/Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images)

Take a Luka this: Celtic could replace Ryan Christie with Luka Ivanusec

As much as I like Ryan Christie, it’s clear that the supporters have fallen out of love with him. With rumour of discontent in the dressing room, it seems more likely than not that Celtic will cash in on the former Aberdeen loanee.

That’s a shame, really. However, Luka Ivanusec would be a more than worthy replacement. The Dinamo Zagreb dynamo scored 1 and set up 1 for the Croatians in the Europa League [WhoScored?], and has contributed to 7 goals in 18 1.HNL appearances [Transfermarkt].

Watching Ivanusec play, there are some appealing party tricks in his arsenal. Primarily, he likes to take the ball in central positions, beat players with his close control, and loft a through ball to attacking players. It’s something he does with ease, given his low centre of gravity and passing vision.

He’s also adept at cutting in from the flank, primarily the left-hand side, and delivering whipped crosses. Undoubtedly an entertainer, Ivanusec has a fantastic first-touch which allows him to dribble past players with ease. Combined with his electric acceleration, he’s an entertainer first and foremost.

Put simply: Ivanusec will get supporters out of their seats. Linked with clubs around Europe, Celtic will need to act quickly if they’re to land the Croatian. That might be easier said than done.

We’re looking at Edouard-type numbers here. It’s staggering that Dinamo signed him for less than £3m two years ago, because his value has at least doubled since then. Realistically, it would take at least £7-9m to seal the deal, with a Work Permit likely given his international exploits.

If you need further evidence, watch this. Clearly a player with vision, frightening technical ability and a gift for the unexpected, Ivanusec could follow fellow Croatia youth internationals Jozo Simunovic and Filip Benkovic in playing for the Bhoys.

READ MORE: Stop pretending we’re remotely fussed by this.