Some Celtic fans are already comparing recent Hoops signing Christopher Jullien to Virgil Van Dijk.
The 6ft 5in Frenchman was imperious as Neil Lennon’s men earned a draw in his homeland against Rennes. Jullien won virtually everything in the air, put in several top challenges and also looked neat in possession in a terrific all-round display.
Those are three characteristics of the world-class Van Dijk’s game, so it was no surprise to see some Celtic fans make the comparison on Twitter.
Btw, say it quietly but big Jullien could be the commanding centre half we’ve missed since Van Dijk. What a performance tonight, he was solid!💪🏻 starting to look every bit of a £7M signing👏🏻
— CelticBhoy1888 (@Bhoy1888Celtic1) September 19, 2019
Mental that Jullien is better than Van Dijk
— Rossco. (@Rossbain244) September 19, 2019
Jullien is the closest thing Celtic have had to replacing Van Dijk
— Jordan Spencer (@JordAvfc) September 19, 2019
Jullien > Van Dijk
— Mark Watson (@markymarkwatson) September 19, 2019
Jullien Van Dijk a think they call him.
— Paul (@P__67) September 19, 2019
Don’t like to jump the gun but big Jullien will be competing for the Ballan d’Or next season with big Virgil Van Dijk
— J (@JimWilliamSee) September 19, 2019
Definite look of Big Virgil in Mr Jullien… In any way you want to interpret that.
— Willie Keane (@WillieKeane) September 19, 2019
Jullien and Van Dijk comparison is probably unfair
It is difficult not to make the odd comparison between Jullien and Van Dijk. The Dutchman is the best defender we’ve probably had this century so, much like new forwards and Henrik Larsson, he is set as the benchmark.
A much fairer comparison would be between Jullien and Dedryck Boyata. The former Toulouse man has basically taken Boyata’s role as our main centre-back following his move to Hertha Berlin at the end of last season.
Boyata was a good player for us during his time at the club but he rarely put together a performance like Jullien did on Thursday. The Frenchman looks far more assured than his Belgian counterpart, and less likely to make a mistake on the big stage.
Celtic fans will just be hoping that there’s far more to come from the £7million summer signing. He’s still settling into his new surroundings and is yet to properly establish his defensive teammates. Once that all comes together we could be in for some special times.
But even then, comparisons to the wonderful Van Dijk may be a little far fetched.