While Celtic players looked forward to a title party last weekend, Christopher Jullien’s focus was elsewhere, as the French defender spoke to goal.com in the week building up to those title celebrations, to let it be known in no uncertain terms that he was frustrated in his lack of game-time at Celtic since recovering from a horrific knee injury.
“Since mid-January, I feel 100%, after that it is the choices of the coach. It belongs to him and he is successful: we have been champions since Wednesday and in December we won the cup.
“For my part, I told the coach in January that I was ready to go. Now it’s his choice and sometimes he doesn’t name me on the bench because he prefers to take a midfielder who can play in central defence.
“I’m unsatisfied with my playing time this season because it’s frustrating and all I want is to be on the pitch. Despite the fact that I gave everything for this club and I would have liked to bring more to the team this year, the playing time is not there at all.
“I still have a year left of my contract here and I would like to continue playing but my priority is to be on the pitch. In my situation and with this current playing time, it is not possible.”
Funny that, thought he spent the entire time moaning and sulking? pic.twitter.com/NtoxW7lThm
— Dylz ✍️ (@GDRef0rmed) May 16, 2022
Now it appears his plea may have been listened to more attentively by French football clubs than it was by manager Ange Postecoglou, who once again omitted the player from the matchday squad for the 6-0 win over Motherwell, with SunSport reporting today that Jullien ‘is attracting interest from France as he starts to weigh up his Celtic future.’ They understand several Ligue 1 clubs are monitoring the defender’s situation and could launch moves this summer.
On the one hand Jullien’s frustrations at a lack of playing time are understandable. After all he spent a long time out and had a long hard journey of rehabilitation to get back to fitness, and to then not see much action to get his match sharpness back must have been frustrating.
Yet to go public with his frustrations at a time where the rest of his teammates were in celebration mode was perhaps a little ill-advised to say the least. At least it would be if the intention was to force the manager’s hand. But in reality, it doesn’t look as if that was ever the intention. Instead, it seems Jullien’s interview was designed entirely to smoke out interest from other clubs, and to that extent the tactic appears to have worked.
There is a great deal of uncertainty in central defensive positions at Celtic at present. Nir Bitton has now moved on, and with Cameron Carter-Vickers’ loan deal now expiring, the player has yet to commit to Celtic long-term. That would leave Carl Starfelt and Stephen Welsh as the only guaranteed competition for Jullien next season. As such you would have thought if he backed himself, he’d have kept his counsel and got stuck into pre-season, with a point to prove and a manager to impress. Instead, it would appear Jullien was content to burn his bridges.
For a player fondly remembered as a League Cup Final ‘skelper and for that goal against Lazio, if things were to conclude like this it would be a sad ending to the Celtic career, but then Jullien probably knew just that when he decided to let his frustrations be known so publicly.
It really is hard to see a way back for Christopher Jullien at Celtic now. As such, if there is genuine interest from France, it may be best for all concerned to say au revoir sooner rather than later.
Woah this was one if the best feelings… Thank you all for that moment and all the good vibes during all that time 💚🍀 https://t.co/AQPzXaXFY4
— Chris Jullien.. (@Chri6ViF) February 15, 2022
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