Euro club director admits surprise at being able to complete deal with Celtic

By Sam Preston

February 8, 2023

Union Berlin director Oliver Ruhnert has said he was shocked he was able to sign Josip Juranovic from Celtic in January.

The Bundesliga outfit signed the right-back last month amid transfer interest from clubs across Europe, in the first major exit of an Ange Postecoglou signing.

Ruhnert has spoken to the Daily Record about being able to sign the defender, and said it is a sign of his club’s progression. Union also got Aissa Laidouni last month, who was also a Celtic target after playing at the World Cup with Tunisia.

Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Ruhnert on signing Juranovic

He said of both: “We came at the right moment with players like Juranovic and Ladouni. A few years ago, players would probably have said ‘no’. But you see that work has been done successfully here in recent years. That makes it easier for them.

“At first, we had the expectation that (the Juranovic deal) would probably not work out. We stuck with it, and were rewarded in the end. We had (Laidouni) on our radar for a long time. It was never realistic (before) but, like with Juranovic, we came at the right moment.

“Both are very positive guys in the dressing room. That is extremely gratifying. That’s exactly what we wanted.”

Ange called Juranovic ‘fantastic‘ in paying tribute to him after he was sold and the arrival of Alistair Johnston signalled that the club were planning for the defender’s exit before it even happened.

Juranovic was respectful of Celtic during the exit process and is clearly proud of what he was able to achieve at the club under Postecoglou.

The transfer business was done right and seemed to work for all parties, including Ruhnert and Union, who are an ambitious club that have just got themselves a top player.