Josip Juranovic had already proclaimed Celtic as his ‘one true love’ whilst also intimating his move to Union Berlin may not have been entirely of his own making. Yesterday Ange Postecoglou was asked for his response – and it’s fair to say the Celtic manager had no time for raking over old coals.
Juranovic had claimed the decision on the move to Berlin was taken in part because he’d heard Celtic had signed a new right back in Alastair Johnston whilst he was on international duty at the Qatar World Cup last year, but also managed to contradict that message by admitting he viewed his move to the Bundesliga as a step up from playing in the Scottish Premiership. Josip Juranovic said:
“I had a really good relationship with the fans. I really loved it. It was a tough time to move way, but that’s life. I was a little bit sad Celtic didn’t try to keep me as a player there. But that is football. You can’t know your future.
“To be honest I was a little bit surprised because I was playing in the World Cup and preparing for my next game. Some of my friends called me and said they’d signed a new full-back, what’s your opinion about that? I was just putting it to the side and concentrating on the World Cup, as it’s the biggest stage in football and I wanted to perform well. In my mind I was thinking, we would have three full-backs and someone will be on the bench and someone in the stands with their family.
“I knew I would maybe not play two games in a row and maybe play the third one. I didn’t like some of that stuff – because of the national team. If you are not playing regularly for your club, you won’t get called up for the national team. That’s the main reason why I left.
“I spoke with Ange one week before I moved. We always had an honest conversation between us. He is a good coach – a really good coach and I tried to keep him informed. My 18 months there was unbelievable. What can I say about Celtic? It’s one true love,” Jura said.
“I didn’t think a lot about my situation because first I had the World Cup and I was concentrating fully on that. Then I was reading some news that I would be going to, I don’t know, Man United, Chelsea and so on.
“But we need to be realistic. This was the right move for me from my side. In my career I haven’t ever jumped two steps ahead. I am always going one step then one step, upgrading my career. I want to play football and that is the main reason why I am here.”
Those were very interesting comments from Juranovic, particularly his claim that he was perhaps disappointed by Celtic’s decision not to try and keep him.
Celtic at the time were fairly public with the news the club had initially tried to tie down Juranovic on a new contract, so perhaps the two sides simply couldn’t agree on the financial details of a fresh deal. Or it may well have been Celtic saw an opportunity to make a significant sum – Juranovic’s deal was reported to be in excess of £7m – and reinvest the money in more than one player.
That would certainly be in line with Ange Postecoglou’s warning to the Celtic support not to get too attached to players as the club intended to be aggressive and agile in the transfer market. And that’s something Ange Postecoglou addressed yesterday as reported in Daily Record, when he gave short shrift to his former player’s comments, making it clear as far as he’s concerned all parties have simply moved on.
“I don’t really care to be honest. Josip was outstanding for us for 18 months. He won trophies and represented his country at a World Cup. Now he has gone on and he is doing fantastically well and I couldn’t be happier for him. We continue on our journey now. The rest of it is just a soap opera for the masses,” Ange Postecoglou said.
“We are a football club that is consistently trying to be successful. I said previously that we have got to be really aggressive in the way that we push this squad to another level because we still believe we need to improve and get better and the only way you can do that is to make sure that you are constantly looking to improve and reinvest in the squad.
“From our perspective there are players who left in January after contributing to this football club and that is all we want. They have gone on with our best wishes but my role is to reinvest that money and to try to make us a stronger team,” Ange Postecoglou explained.
With Juranovic also hinting possible moves to Chelsea and Manchester United had turned his head, then Celtic’s position to sell a player who had perhaps already one foot out the door mentally made sense.
Even if Union Berlin was not perhaps the move Juranovic had envisaged happening, the fact his focus had shifted away from the job in hand would certainly have been apparent.
As such with the Celtic manager’s position being players must be 100% invested in the project or they are welcome to make alternative arrangements, then the fact Josip Juranovic was perhaps not ‘all in’ at Celtic made it all the easier to make the decision to let the player leave.
It seems there are some regrets on the part of Josip Juranovic when it comes to leaving Celtic – he isn’t the first and won’t be the last player to perhaps realise what he had once it was gone – however, some of that may be down to believing he was heading to Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford rather than Union Berlin. As such it may be worth Juranovic questioning the judgement of his representatives on that one.
Either way Celtic and the player have gone their separate ways, and it was interesting to hear Ange Postecoglou’s take on the matter amounts to little more than thanks for the memories and good luck with your future endeavours.