Italian report claims Celtic will miss out on defensive target

By Euan Davidson

May 11, 2021

Hajduk Split defender Mario Vuskovic is set for a move, according to Italian media, which will disappoint Celtic fans.

According to reputable Italian journalist Nicolo Schira, the Bhoys made a €5m offer for the Croatian defender in April. However, that looks set to be the end of Celtic’s interest, with Torino set to seal the deal.

According to Tutto Calcio Mercato 24, the Serie A side’s talks with Hajduk are an “advanced stage”. A fee of around €5-6m, only slightly more than Celtic’s offer, looks to have greased the wheels. It’s a potential blow for Celtic, given Vuskovic’s potential and depth of international experience, given his age. The centre-back has featured for the Croatia U17, U19 and U21s thus far.

A steely, determined young centre-back, Vuskovic can also play in defensive midfield, providing some positional versatility. Ideally, you could see the young Croat playing in the middle of a back-3, with license to roam forward. He’s also garnered experience in the Europa League qualifiers, featuring twice for Hajduk Split.

The Croatian giants have claimed they’re under no obligation to sell their best players. Bullish club President said [via Daily Record]:

“The player will be sold when the deal represents good business sense for the club. We are no longer in a position where we have to sell players to survive.

“The club is in a much better position financially and we will look at Mario’s position at the end of the season.”

Hajduk Split defender Mario Vuskovic in action / (Photo by Marcio Machado/Getty Images)

Italian reports make for bad Celtic reading

While Vuskovic is by no means a world-beater yet, this is a bit of a blow for Celtic. The young centre-back fits the exact profile of a Bhoys signing: a young European talent, with plenty of potential and sell-on value. The interest of clubs like Torino and Napoli suggests that there’s real potential there.

Surely, the lure of European football and the chance to win trophies would suggest that Celtic might have pulling power in agreeing personal terms. Unfortunately, it won’t get to that point, with Turin’s second-biggest club reportedly close to making a permanent move for the Croatian youngster.

Following the disappointment over Filip Benkovic and Mark McKenzie in the last window, fans will be hoping that the club can be aggressive in the transfer market. Unfortunately, transfer target misses mean more in the context of a rebuild. Granted, we’re not entirely sure who’s behind the wheel of our transfer activity, it’s clear the club are still being active in pursuing talent.

Vuskovic could be one that got away.

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