Austrian winger Husein Balic is interesting Southampton and Brentford after Celtic previously did the same, the Mail on Sunday reports.
The newspaper states that Balic, who plays with LASK, could be let go for as little as £2.8million. This is said to be down to the global health pandemic that continues to cripple Europe financially.
The Mail on Sunday also reports that Celtic have been tracking the left winger in recent months. However, the Hoops didn’t decide to move for him over the course of the suummer.
But Celtic were linked strongly with a move for Balic back in the summer of 2019 after Neil Lennon had initially gotten the manager’s job on a permanent basis. The Daily Mail reported then that the Premiership champions were eyeing up a £700k deal before the 2019/20 campaign, but nothing ever came of it.
Balic instead moved to Austrian side LASK, where he’s made 14 appearances this season and contributed with seven direct goal contributions (Transfermarkt).
Should Celtic test LASK’s resolve in January?
Make no mistake, Celtic have gaping holes down both flanks. There is a glaring lack of cover for the likes of Mohamed Elyounoussi and James Forrest. Even though Neil Lennon has Mikey Johnston returning at some stage whilst Ryan Christie can operate from the right – more natural options are needed.
Balic looks like he could play a decent role for Celtic. The Austrian, who’s yet to be capped by his country, has played for Vorwarts Steyr, St Polten, and LASK respectively. However, this season has only been his second in European football after games against Spurs, Antwerp, and Ludogrets in the Europa League.
But there doesn’t appear to be any denying the pace that Balic appears to have. The Mail on Sunday reported today that his nickname is “The Sprinter”, and that he clocked speeds of 39kmph in the past. He’s also said to have run 20 metres in 2.75 seconds.
Yes, there appears to be something intriguing about Balic that Celtic may indeed have missed. Given how light we are down both flanks, a £2.8m deal could easily be an attractive proposition for the Hoops after previously being interested.
However, there is perhaps a greater need for cover down the right side. Balic is naturally a left-winger, and hasn’t had any senior experience operating down the other flank. That would be a problem if Lennon is looking primarily for a right-sided talent in January like a Bright Osayi-Samuel for instance.
For now, there have been no reports that Celtic are even making a move on this one. But given he appears to be catching British clubs’ attention once again, Celtic wouldn’t be doing any harm by taking another look at Balic.