Early Christopher Jullien return should save Celtic millions

By David Walton

May 11, 2021

An early return to first-team action for Christopher Jullien would undoubtedly have pleased the money-men just as much as the supporters at Celtic.

That’s the news doing the rounds at the moment. The Scottish Sun reported yesterday that the Frenchman is targeting a return to first-team action in August.

When Neil Lennon initially discussed Jullien’s injury, he believed that the worst-case scenario could’ve seen him out for nine months [Glasgow Times]. That would’ve meant that the former Toulouse man could’ve been sidelined until November.

However, with the Sun reporting that big Chris could be back in August, that could see him available for a host of important games.

Vitally, it could mean that Jullien is fit for Celtic’s Champions League qualifiers in August should we make it to the third qualifying round. At the very least, he would be back fit and available for near enough the start of the domestic campaign.

Importance of Christopher Jullien Celtic return can’t be understated

Had Jullien been out until October or November, a replacement would’ve been essential. And it would’ve had to be one capable of coping with both European and domestic demands. Those wouldn’t have come cheap.

But even if Jullien can’t make the UCL qualifiers, he’ll be fit and firing for the group stage should he make an August return. That would give him plenty of time to get himself up to speed before the proper European action begins.

Granted, Celtic still need to sign two centre-backs this summer regardless. Replacements for Shane Duffy and Kris Ajer should be a necessity. But now we know there’s no real panic to try and get one for Jullien. Not if he’s back for more or less the start of the season.

Celtic defender Christopher Jullien could return in August (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

It saves us going out and splashing £4m-£7m on someone else. That, considering the number of players we need to sign this summer, is a big boost.

Now, we just need everything to go to plan and for Jullien to continue hs clearly successful recovery process. As soon as he’s fit he’ll need to be launched back into the first-team reckoning.

Yes, Celtic will still have Stephen Welsh and Nir Bitton available if necessary. But the former isn’t ready for European football whilst the latter can’t be trusted as a centre-back at a decent level. So if Jullien’s back quickly, that takes the total number of centre-back signings we need down from three to two.

In other news, the Celtic fans have been left cringing at James Tavernier’s Monday tweet.