Underrated Josip Juranovic is making a case as best-value Celtic signing in 21-22

By Euan Davidson

January 20, 2022

It almost feels like ancient history considering the panic amongst Celtic fans before Josip Juranovic came through the door.

There we were, desperate for a right-back. Aurelio Buta, Sacha Boey, Aaron Hickey and more had seemingly slipped the net; though how close we were remains debatable in each case. Nobody was necessarily rating Anthony Ralston in a Celtic jersey yet, though that was to come.

Amidst a flurry of summer transfer activity, though, Celtic landed a Croatian international for just £2.5m in the form of Josip Juranovic. Even now, it’s tempting to wonder what the catch is for a fee that small.

Photo by Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

But nope, no catch. Juranovic has been routinely outstanding. This season, he’s averaging a lofty 7.08 rating from WhoScored?, with 1.8 tackles per 90 and 0.8 interceptions. Hardly bad numbers in a team that dominates possession, especially when he averages 2.4 attempted tackles per 90.

Going forward, he’s been even more vital. He’s taken to the inverted full-back role with utter ease on either side, and is a major creative outlet. His 1.4 key passes in the Scottish Premiership this season have shown his ability to find players in attacking positions, while he’s chipped in (literally) with penalty strikes, most recently against Hibernian.

We had a huge problem at right-back. Then, we had another problem at left-back. Yet, Juranovic is playing with consummate ease, very seldom caught out and more often stymying opposition attackers, while threatening at the other end. For £2.5m, you could argue that pound for pound, he might’ve been our wisest investment.

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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Josip Juranovic is a signing of the season contender for Celtic already

I know. Believe me, I can see my mentions now. Kyogo Furuhashi. Joe Hart. Even some of the new Bhoys like Reo Hatate, who seems like unbelievable value.

All good shouts, and there are plenty more.

But in terms of buying into Ange Postecoglou’s methodology wholeheartedly, and backing it up with performances? Surely there’s a case. The guy absolutely loves it here, make no mistake about it.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

After Monday night’s performance, he lauded the “incredible players” around him. Juranovic isn’t just a quality player, he’s actively contributing to a positive atmosphere at Celtic. But he probably doesn’t get enough props for his own displays this season.

What Ange Postecoglou and Michael Nicholson have done in the transfer market has been nothing short of sensational. Many will point to the ridiculously low fees for objectively strong talents, Kyogo, Hatate, Maeda, Hart and more.

If you ask me though, Juranovic stands out. Yet, we probably don’t talk about the calibre of performances he’s bringing to Celtic on a constant basis. And it seems there’s even more to come from the Croatia international.

For just £2.5m, Josip Juranovic is amongst the best bits of transfer business you’ll see anywhere this season.

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