Josip Juranovic. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Credit where credit is due, Celtic have clearly been needing a new right-back, so Ange Postecoglou has gone out and signed one. Simple.
The Hoops confirmed over the weekend that they’d wrapped up a deal for Croatian international Josip Juranovic, with the defender arriving in Glasgow for a reported fee of around £2.5 million from Legia Warsaw.
According to ex-Parkhead hero Jackie Dziekanowski, who spent time with Legia during his own playing career, that price could prove to be something of a snip too.
Speaking to the Daily Record, he said: “If Juranovic was a player for Dinamo Zagreb, for example, Celtic would have paid a lot more for him - probably three times what they gave Legia for him.
“Legia have shot themselves in the foot. It’s not the first time in history Legia have done this either.”
But regardless of his price tag, what can Celtic fans expect to see from their newest arrival?
Well, for one thing, his pedigree speaks for itself.
Juranovic has 10 senior caps for Croatia to his name, and featured twice at this summer’s Euro 2020. In fact, the 26-year-old played a full 90 minutes against Scotland in the group stage match that ultimately ended the Tartan Army’s dreams of reaching the knockout stages.
Croatia may not be the same force they were when they reached the final of the 2018 World Cup, but they’re still a quality setup, and any player capable of forcing their way into their starting XI at a major tournament clearly has something to offer.
In terms of Juranovic’s style of play, the full-back isn’t averse to getting forward. Much of his time with Legia was spent on the right-side of a back five, and as such, and integral part of his game was the ability to get up and down the flank, pinning back his opposite number and delivering balls into dangerous areas.
Last season, the Croatian averaged 5.1 crosses per game with an accuracy rate of 41.8%. As a point of comparison, Anthony Ralston has averaged 4.04 crosses per game this season, with an accuracy rate of 38%.
Similarly, Juranovic’s dribble success rate is nearly 4% higher than Ralston’s has been since the start of 2021/22.
By no means has the Celtic man made a slow start to the season either. Despite a number of vocal detractors, Ralston has looked good for the most part, and even scored twice in his first two Scottish Premiership matches of the campaign.
But Juranovic looks to be a step up in terms of both experience and output.
Defensively, the Croat is no slouch either.
In 2020/21, his defensive duel win rate was a full 10% higher than Ralston’s has been so far this season, with both players contesting just over five per game.
Their comparable statistics in several other areas, including interceptions made and balls recovered, are near identical, but it’s clear that when it comes to one-on-one defending, Juranovic has the edge.
So, we ask again, what can Celtic fans expect to see from their newest arrival?
Well, in short, they look to have nabbed a very adept attacking threat with a real talent for stifling opposition wingers to boot.
And if Dziekanowski is to be believed, they’ve got him for a bargain too.