JOSIP JURANOVIC will NOT be going on trial when he locks horns with Vinicius Junior in the World Cup quarter-final tomorrow afternoon.
There are reports Atletico Madrid will run the rule over the Celtic right-back when Croatia take on Brazil in the global showpiece.
Juranovic’s immediate future will most certainly not be decided on how he performs against the tournament favourites.
It’s clear the Spanish outfit know enough about the Hoops defender’s qualities to have had him on their wanted list in the summer.
They were linked with Juranovic just 10 months after he had signed a five-year deal to join Ange Postecoglou’s revolution in a £2.5million switch from Legia Warsaw.
ON THE MOVE…Josip Juranovic displays his composed qualities as he races into attack.
The cultured performer missed the last seven games of the title run-in after limping off in the Scottish Cup semi-final on April 17 at Hampden where an extra-time own goal from Carl Starfelt ended hopes of a domestic silverware clean sweep in the Greek-Australian gaffer’s debut campaign.
However, Juranovic had already done enough to show he was an absolute bargain at the fee Celtic paid the Polish club on August 21 last year.
Unsurprisingly, that consistent form up until he was forced onto the sidelines attracted envious glances and one so-called “transfer expert” informed us pre-season: “Croatian national team right-back Josip Juranovic is expected to leave Celtic FC this summer as many clubs are following him.”
We insisted Juranovic would be going NOWHERE during the August transfer window and CQN backed up that statement with our report on June 21.
CHEERS…Daizen Maeda and Josip Juranovic go through their usual routine after a goal for the Japanese striker.
TEARS…Josip Juranovic comforts his Celtic team-mate Daizen Maeda after Croatia knocked Japan out of the World Cup on penalty-kicks in Qatar on Monday.
That was almost six months ago – a long time in football – and the dynamics have altered. For a start, Postecoglou has signed Canada’s 24-year-old No.2 Alistair Johnston for £3.5million from MLS outfit CF Montreal and he will be a direct rival for Juranovic and Anthony Ralston for the right-back position.
Now would be a good time to get a reasonable money for the classy Croatian performer – and not the £5million from West Ham that is being discussed elsewhere. That sort of fee won’t get business done.
There will be no sell-on value for Celtic in a shift for a 27-year-old player who would almost certainly be signing a five-year deal elsewhere.
A cheque of around the £10million mark may edge the deal closer to the finishing line which would show a tidy profit which suits the Parkhead club’s model.
Don’t forget, too, Legia Warsaw will almost certainly be due a percentage of the profit unless their negotiators have fallen asleep at the wheel.
PARADISE…Josip Juranovic looks skywards after striking a rare goal for the Hoops.
Atletico Madrid WILL have a scout at the match tomorrow, but it will not alter their vision of what Juranovic can offer their team if he has a testing 90 minutes against an opponent who made life difficult for him in the Champions League this season.
Considering the South American star plays his club football in the same city as Atletico, there is a fair bet Diego Simeone will have a decent appraisal of what he can do to any right-sided defender when he gets into his stride.
Juranovic has won 34 caps for his country and has been playing first-team football in Europe since breaking through at local club Dubrava in 2013 before his move to Hajduk Split two years later. Legia Warsaw signed him for a paltry £260,000 in 2020 and made a healthy profit when Celtic came calling 12 months later.
If scouts throughout Europe do not know the calibre of Juranovic by now they have not been paying attention.
Name any club you wish and it will be certain they will have their top scout at Education City Stadium tomorrow.
Undoubtedly, there will be teams in dire need of a transfer transfusion as they prepare for the second half of the campaign following the World Cup break.
Atletico Madrid will be among those clubs. They currently sit fifth in La Liga 13 points adrift of pacesetters Barcelona and any forlorn hopes of a title success this time around are already blown.
UP FOR THE CUP…two-goal hero Kyogo Furuhashi and Josip Juranovic, wearing the flags of Japan and Croatia, celebrate the 2-1 League Cup Final triumph over Hibs at Hampden last season.
SILVER SMILES…Josip Juranovic and Callum McGregor proudly display the Premiership trophy after the final-day 6-0 success over Motherwell at Parkhead on May 14.
They are 11 behind city rivals Real Madrid while they also trail Real Sociedad – who will be watching Juranovic against Brazil – and Athletic Club Bilbao.
Simeone’s scout will deliver an up-to-date report on Juranovic’s form, but it will not be a deal-breaker.
Of course, the dependable defensive operator could go out and have an absolute stormer, put Vinicius Junior in his back pocket and inspire his nation to a famous victory. That would see his value go up a notch.
However, to suggest Juranovic is on trial in this game is nothing short of a joke.
The Celtic player has done enough over recent years to emphasise his ability and skillset.
Alas, though, it does look as though the Hoops fans may have seen the last of Juranovic.
But that’s another story for another day.