Croatian playmaker Kristijan Lovric continuing to shine after Celtic summer link
One of the names continuously linked with Celtic over the summer yet didn’t arrive in the door was Croatian talent Kristijan Lovric.
The 25-year-old HNK Gorica star was linked incessantly with the Hoops in the early stages of Ange Postecoglou’s reign. Reports in the players homeland stated that Celtic and Italian outfit Hellas Verona were the two clubs who had expressed great interest in Lovric [Index HR].
It was a link that seriously excited the Celtic support. An official bid never seemed to be made for the player however. He remained with Gorica after scoring 44 goals in 96 games in three seasons for the club [Transfermarkt].
Croatian journalist Marko Jerlekovic stated at the time that Gorica wanted €5m [£4.2m] for the player. It looked a bargain given how prolific he was in Croatia, and at 25 years of age, he looked primed for a step-up.
Instead, Celtic secured Jota on a season-long loan from Benfica. The Lovric talk was forgotten about, and on we went.
Well, as it turns out, even into the new campaign, Lovric is still flourishing and in form to this day. So far this season, he’s bagged 6 goals and 3 assists making it 9 direct goal contributions in 11 appearances [Transfermarkt].
Celtic summer target Kristijan Lovric could be available for a cut-price figure next summer
What makes his good form even more interesting is his contract situation in Croatia. Lovric will be into the final 12 months of his deal next summer, with his contract expiring in 2023.
Celtic undoubtedly have their eyes fixated on how well Jota does this season. If it proves to be the success we all hope it will then there will be a desire to get that one over the line.
But should Celtic run into complications, Lovric should be back in their sights. Especially considering that €5m fee is sure to drop given he’ll be into the final 12 months of his deal. Just ask Celtic themselves, who had to accept lesser offers for the likes of Kris Ajer, Ryan Christie, and Odsonne Edouard for the same reason.
Unfortunately, with a situation like that, admirers will grow. Verona won’t be the only side keeping tabs on Lovric if his form keeps up. There have only been 3 out of 11 games this season in which the player hasn’t managed to be directly involved in a goal, not to mention he captained the side in his last match against Rijeka.
Ange Postecoglou has shown a desire to move away from the project buys this summer. He’s acquiring talents that already have a bit of experience to their name. Players who are passed the “young talent” phase and are at an age where they can make an instant impact.
Lovric ticks all the boxes for Celtic, and a deal could be a lot easier to finalise next summer. Should Jota be lured away for whatever reason, this could still be a fine alternative for the Bhoys.