For £7.5m + add-ons which could see the final figure rise to £10m, Josip Juranovic is only the third most expensive full back we have sold in recent years. After the purchase fee of £2.5m from Legia Warsaw and the sell-on clause to pay, he was not the most profitable of the successful players we have sold.
Notions that he would go to Barcelona, Atletico Madrid or Chelsea were found to be fanciful. No one with substantial budget followed through with an interest, so Celtic and Josip were left with a more modest return from Union Berlin – who occupy nose-bleed heights in this season’s Bundesliga. Only our dear friends Eintracht (on goal difference) and Bayern are ahead of them.
The only trophy Celtic did not win last season saw us eliminated after Jura went off injured. Much of his time at the club was spent in an unaccustomed left back role, which he fulfilled well, until a recent aberration.
What is most telling about this transfer is that it took place to begin with. We could have sat tight for another 18 months before offering the player an improved contract and listening to offers, as he entered the final 2 years of his deal. This, or offering higher wages earlier, has been our modus operandi since Martin O’Neill’s time.
This time, we recruited Alistair Johnston before the window opened, ensuring the only pressure on the club was that it did not end the window with a depreciating surplus of right backs. The early signs from Johnston are good, he was exceptional in his only real test so far, at Ibrox. We can hope he is an upgrade on Jura. For now, that remains an acknowledged risk.
I like that we were prepared (in the truest sense of the word) to trade. Prepared in the sense that we went into the window with a replacement identified and signed, with strong interest in our player that followed through. If we are to maximise our potential, we need to do much more trading. They all have a price and they should all have a number of alternates we can bid for, if that price is offered. No sentiment.
Good luck, Josip, hope we see you back for the Paradise Windfall draw one day.