BARCELONA are watching Celtic defender Josip Juranovic who must now be rated in the £25million bracket, according to Chris Sutton.
The Catalan giants are on the look-out for a new right-back and have taken notice of the performances of the 27-year-old Croatia No.2 in Qatar with his country due to meet Argentina in the World Cup semi-final tomorrow night.
Barca are about to switch interest from Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot to the Hoops star who has seen his value soar with his convincing displays in the soccer showpiece, according to Spanish media outlet Fichajes.
BEST FOOT FORWARD…Josip Juranovic fires over a cross as he shines in the soccer showpiece in Qatar.
Former Hoops striker Sutton insists his old club should demand £25million for the player who cost a bargain £2.5million when he joined from Legia Warsaw in August last year.
The one-time England international believes the Parkhead hierarchy should try to hold onto the defender, who is under contract until June 2026, for the duration of the current campaign due to the importance of winning a second successive title and earning automatic re-entry to the Champions League group stage.
However, if Juranovic is to go in next month’s transfer window, Sutton has advised the Parkhead club to insist on top dollar for one of the global extravaganza’s most accomplished performers.
The cultured performer was a stand-out in the quarter-final penalty-kick win over tournament favourites Brazil and was consistent in his outings against Belgium, Morocco and Canada in Group F and the last-16 encounter against Japan which his country also won on spot-kicks.
The former Celtic goal hero said: “Juranovic’s performance against Brazil was seen across the world. Why shouldn’t Celtic be able to ask for big money?
HEAD BHOY…Josip Juranovic is on the receiving end of a high boot from Brazil’s Danilo.
“I believe they should try to keep him until next summer as he’s such an important player and Celtic have a title to be secure. But, if circumstances dictate that he is to go next month, it should be for a premium rate.
“Of course, the two biggest aspects are maybe the fact he is playing in Scotland and the fact he is 27 years of age.
“Firstly, which league he plays should be of no concern. He’s performed in the Champions League and just been Man of the Match against one of the world’s best teams and one of their best players in Vinicius Junior.
“Secondly, 27 is not old. He’s possibly approaching his prime. There may not be major sell-on value for a buyer, but when has that ever bothered the major clubs around Europe?”
Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “My experiences tell me that a lot of buying within the bigger leagues that gets done in January has a degree of panic or desperation about it.
ON THE BALL…Josip Juranovic in control as Celtic continue the charge towards a second successive title.
“I’m not comparing them as players, but Kieran Tierney, a full-back, left Celtic to join Arsenal for £25million. Yes, Kieran was younger, but Juranovic is now going to have a World Cup semi-final on his CV. He and Croatia might even win the tournament.
“Juranovic is a first-pick for a country who are consistently high performers at major tournaments and in major competitions.
“Given the position of it being mid-season, given the fact Juranovic will just have come off a starring role at a World Cup and given the fact Celtic do not need to sell, they should aim high.
“Ange Postecoglou says there will be movement in and out of the door to generate money to buy better. Right now, Juranovic can generate plenty.
“If it means they take less in the summer and a second straight title is in the bag, then that’s a fair trade off.”
As well as Barcelona, Juranovic has also been linked with Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham.