Celtic target Mario Vuskovic once named on prestigious Next Gen talent list

By Euan Davidson

June 24, 2021

Celtic target Mario Vuskovic is the talk of the fans today; but he’s been a top prospect for years.

The Croatian defender, who was again linked with a move to Paradise this morning [Sun], was named on the Guardian’s Next Gen list in 2018 [Guardian]. Even now, his description will be exciting reading for Celtic supporters, and make no mistake.

Kresimir Gojun, head of the Hajduk academy, said of Vuskovic [Guardian]:

“He’s not just dominant in challenges but also exceptional in buildup play. He often scores goals and can score from free-kicks like a No 10.”

The Guardian also pointed out that at “15 years and three months”, Vuskovic was the Croatia U17s youngest ever debutant. And he’s in some pretty elite company; Billy Gilmour, former Postecoglou player Takefusa Kubo and Barcelona signing Eric Garcia [Sky Sports] also made the 2018 list.

An exciting seven days for Celtic fans is about to get underway

As credentials go, that’s not bad going at all. It’s well worth pointing out that the publication identified the likes of Ruben Neves and Ousmane Dembele in their first Next Gen list [Guardian]. Obviously, not every young star can go on to establish themselves and fulfil their potential, but it’s a very encouraging sign for any youth player.

Vuskovic held in high esteem across Europe, Celtic would do well to snare him

It’s also worth noting that Vuskovic has added experience to his potential since his 2018 write-up. He’s featured 44 times for Hajduk Split’s first-team [Transfermarkt], along with 6 U21 appearances and 10 outings for the U19s. Every sign so far indicates an encouraging trajectory for the Croatian defender.

Oh, and by the way? Gojun was right; Vuskovic also offers a threat from set pieces, and can score with either foot. That makes him a potentially useful replacement for Kristoffer Ajer, who became an attacking threat in his own right over the last couple of seasons.

Mario Vuskovic; a potentially excellent talent / (Photo by Pixsell/MB Media/Getty Images)

While Ajer uses his physicality to drive forward and establish attacking moves, Vuskovic is more adept at finishing them. Given the amount of possession Celtic will enjoy domestically, having a goal-scoring defender, a la Virgil van Dijk, would be another very useful tool int he Bhoys’ arsenal.

Listen; forgive us if we’re getting carried away. But if Celtic pull the trigger on Vuskovic, against opposition from Serie A, then it’s a potentially excellent bit of business. Certainly, the credentials are there for him to be a success in the Green and White.

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