New Celtic defender Josip Juranovic has fantastic international break

By Euan Davidson

September 8, 2021

Croatia international and Celtic defender Josip Juranovic has solidified his role as a regular for his country.

Over the international break, Juranovic was a starter in 3 games. Not only that, he was absolutely crucial. Dynamite against Russia, Juranovic built on that display to shine in Croatia’s following matches against Slovakia and Slovenia.

Both wins, by the way.

The right-back, signed by Celtic in the summer transfer window, proved something of a coup for the club. An experienced international player, he somehow cost the Bhoys a reported £2.5m [Sky Sports].

Both defensively and in attack, Juranovic was essential for Croatia. Let’s start with his work in keeping the opposition out. In all three games, Croatia kept clean sheets, with Juranovic imperious throughout. All in, he recovered the ball 14 times over the three games [FotMob]. He also won 12 duels, only losing out twice in total.

In attack, his passing was precise and dangerous. He ended the break with 5 key passes, while crossing the ball with unerring accuracy. Against Slovenia, for example, Juranovic was successful with a staggering 93% of his passes [FotMob].

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That’s extremely high-quality play, against considerable opposition. It’s worth pointing out, too, the competition Juranovic has at right-back for Croatia. 29-year-old Sime Vrsaljko has 51 caps, and plays for Atletico Madrid.

How Celtic landed Juranovic, a bona fide Croatia regular, for £2.5m is a mystery

No offence to George Baldock, Aurelio Buta and the other right-backs Celtic were linked with over the summer.

Each of them could have come in and done a fine job. Equally, we’ve barely seen Juranovic in a Celtic shirt.

However, buying in this kind of quality for £2.5m is genuinely staggering. We’re talking about someone who is a regular for a team ranked 18th in the World [FIFA], who really ought to be higher than that. In 2018, they were World Cup finalists. It’s outstanding stuff.

Photo by Jurij Kodrun/Getty Images

Not to put pressure on Juranovic, of course. But if he can handle all that for his country, then he should be well-placed to deal with the rigours of Scottish football and the Europa League.

While we were frustrated by Celtic’s seeming profligacy in signing right-backs, Juranovic looks worth the wait. If he can repeat his international form in the Green and White, then we’ve got ourselves quite the player.

For just two and a half million pounds, too.

In other news: Key Celtic man again imperious on international stage