Toulouse central defender, Christopher Jullien, looks set to become Celtic’s first confirmed signing of the transfer window. A 26-year-old, the €8m fee, is a departure from Celtic’s strategy of signing young players they can develop into more valuable assets. He is, however, a like-for-like replacement for Dedryck Boyata, who left for Hertha Berlin last month.
Neil Lennon will know what he is getting with Jullien. He has been tested in a difficult league and there will be no repeat of the Marvin Compper fiasco, when millions were committed without proper diligence being carried out.
Jullien was a late developer. He played only one top-flight game, for Freiburg in the Bundesliga, before joining Toulouse as a 23-year-old. Since then he has been first choice for the Ligue 1 outfit. This relatively low profile is probably why he remains attainable for Celtic.
At 6’5”, he is three inches taller than Boyata, who joined Celtic as a 24-year-old, having played roughly the same number of top-flight games as Jullien at that age. I will be delighted to see the paperwork sorted and the player pass his medical.
Speaking of which, there are reasons why we do medicals. A discrepancy was flagged in Jozo Simunovic’s medical four years ago. The player was sent to Harley St for a second opinion, which gave Celtic enough confidence to complete the signing. Jozo has hobbled in and out of the team ever since.
Whatever the problems with David Turnbull’s medical, millions are not casually spent on any player with an expectation he will sit in the stand, or fail any future medical, which would inhibit any resale value.
Let’s hope the boy’s health is good, first and foremost, and that a way forward is found.
Hope the players get a good stretch against Austrian fourth tier SC Pinkafeld tonight.