Exclusive: Norwegian expert Jonas Giæver's verdict on Celtic-linked Kasper Junker
This morning, we spoke about Celtic’s links to Bodø/Glimt’s Danish scoring sensation Kasper Junker.
While we speculatively talked about whether he’d be a good signing for us, the rumours have since built momentum. TEAMtalk reported that the Bhoys, alongside a host of English clubs, are looking to swoop for the 27-goal man.
We spoke to Norwegian football expert, and FourFourTwo and Guardian contributor Jonas Giæver, who gave us the inside scoop on the Junker’s exploits at Bodø/Glimt.
Celtic target Junker: making a name in Norway
Kasper Junker is 26, so why’s he only coming into form now? What’s his career been like?
He had a rough patch in Danish football. Junker wasn’t too good at Aarhus or Horsens. He was quite good when he played for Staebek, a small club from just outside Oslo. After that, he was picked up by Bodo/Glimt, who’ve been turning heads all season here in Norway. He’s fit into manager Kjetil Knusen’s system quite seamlessly.
I think he’s been able to be himself and play to his strengths. Junker, in terms of being an out-and-out striker, he’s been the best this season in Norway.
Was he a bit of a punt on Staebek’s behalf or was he established in any way?
When it came to Staebek, I don’t think there that many Norwegian football fans that knew too much about him. He was an unknown quantity to my knowledge. Looking at his stats from Denmark, he didn’t seem too impressive. What he proved to be was, again, an out-and-out striker who seemingly fit well into Norwegian football. It’s a bit more physical and direct than the usual habit in Danish football.
For a small side like Staebek he was absolutely vital. They tried to get him on a permanent deal, and when they weren’t able to, Bodø/Glimt snapped him up. Alongside Philip Zinckernagel, who’s also Danish, they’ve been the dynamite Danish duo for runaway champions Bodø/Glimt this season.
From what I’ve seen, he’s got that physicality but his movement’s really clever and he’s got technical ability. How would you describe his style, as someone who watches Norwegian football closely?
He’s a number 9, a fox in the box. I think he’s a lot more as well, he’s very technical, very good with his back to goal. He can set up his teammates and find space in the area. Bodø/Glimt have done it so perfectly, in terms of bringing numbers into the box. He always finds a patch of space and finishes first-time more often than not.
If you’re looking for an out-and-out striker, who doesn’t need many chances to get a goal, then he’s your guy. Bodø/Glimt scored 103 goals which is the runaway record for goals in a season. He provided 27 of those, so that should tell you something, I suppose.
How alluring are Celtic to Norwegian footballers? Are we seen as a passage to the English top-flight or are Celtic a big name?
Celtic have incredible respect in Norway. It’s a huge club. Obviously Ronny Deila was manager there for a while, that shows the Norwegian connection to Celtic. Going to a club like Celtic is viewed first and foremost as a privilege, because you’re playing for a huge side. A side who either play in the Champions League or Europa League every single season.
Some probably view it as a step towards England. It’s no secret that Norwegians are raised having English football as their number 1. Playing in Britain, I suppose, is a goal for many young footballers. I mean, if you can go to Celtic… in terms of stature and being able to play in Europe, there aren’t many that do it like Celtic.
I think they have an immense respect in the whole of Scandinavia.