Moritz Jenz – Plenty to work on but much to work with

A year after initial links to Lorient defender Moritz Jenz first emerged it appears the 6ft 2 central defender may be about to head to Celtic on a loan deal with an option to buy attached as Lubo 98 informed us on The Celtic Star earlier today.

This one seems something of strange move when you consider a search online of his strengths and weaknesses point to a defender who lacks in passing accuracy alongside concentration and apparently is a player who coughs up fouls on opposition players rather frequently – not ideal for a side who defend set pieces like we do at present.

Yet when it comes to blocking and ball interceptions it also seems the player would have some key attributes required for a defender in an Ange Postecoglou team.

In terms of strengthening a squad you can see Jenz may be a player Ange Postecoglou would be interested in, and indeed may well fancy his chances when it comes to ironing out defensive deficiencies. Yet when it comes to strengthening the first team straight off the bat, it’s difficult to see Jenz as being a player who could immediately displace or particularly offer a genuine challenge to either Carl Starfelt or Cameron Carter-Vickers – but there is scope to say, in a short space of time, he could well do so.

When the playing budget has been spent wisely on securing Carter-Vickers and Jota on long-term contracts and heft fees paid for both alongside that of Alexandro Bernabei, then funds for extra bodies may be somewhat limited and perhaps that’s exactly why we’re landing on loans with options to buy attached.

German born Jenz came through the ranks with Fulham before making the move to Swiss side Lausanne-Sport, where he attracted the attention of Ligue 1 side Lorient. For whatever reason that move appears not to have worked out for player or club and now Celtic appear to be a possible destination for Jenz, after showing interest in the player last summer.

If Jenz and his self-assessment is an accurate representation of his abilities then Celtic are signing an offensively minded defender, one who claims his game is based on his footballing role models Jerome Boateng and Leonardo Bonucci as reported in the Daily Record today.

“I don’t see myself as a classic central defender who tries to ruin the game. I see myself more as the first line of attack and a player who builds up play. I love having the game in front of me, dictating what pace we go at. I also try to learn a lot from my role models Jerome Boateng and Leonardo Bonucci.

“Of course, I would love a career as good as either of them, but football isn’t about aspirations, it’s about creating and fulfilling a dream. In football, it’s like in real life. If you’re convinced of something, then try to be the best at it and do your thing, even if others want to stop you from doing it.

“Being a professional footballer means not only being able to use the ball well, but also being mentally ready for it. I always thought things like meditation or mental training were very silly, but now I realise how good they are for me. I’m convinced that as a footballer you can only perform at your best if you also allow your body to rest.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? An ideal fit in theory for a Postecoglou side and someone who seems to have a team ethic instilled, alongside a healthy dose of self-confidence.

As with any loan to buy deal there will be risks attached. Let’s be honest here, Jenz was part of a Lorient defence that just avoided relegation from the top-flight last season and if his club is looking to shift the player there will be reasons for that, particularly concerning after spending just a year with the French side.

Yet the attributes for a relegation battle are rarely the same requirements for a team who plays on the front foot and keeps possession for the majority of games. Therefore, interceptions and starting attacks may well be something Jenz will be able to bring to the fore at Celtic, rather than the deep lying defensive attributes he may have required working on at Lorient.

In terms of passing Jenz has a 91% success rate when in his own half, but this drops to 72% when in opposition territory, and a long passing accuracy of 54% shows work needs to be done in that area of his game. In terms of defensive actions, he produces 1.6 interceptions per match and 1.5 tackles per ninety minutes played.

In terms of ball carrying Jenz manages 0.8 per game and 3.1 clearances per match, a figure possibly high due to his side being on the backfoot for most of the season. Yet despite this, errors leading to goals and shots conceded over the course of the season come out very low indeed, so perhaps there is a solid defender in Jenz who simply need a more attacking environment for his skill to be best utilised.

That said Jenz does score high on possession lost at 6.6 times on average, however a willingness to try and start attacks and teammates in front of you making the right angles to receive the ball can have a big impact on such statistics, in a Celtic side keen to get forward and with strong rotational play there is again an argument to say Jenz and Celtic could be a good fit.

There is a lot to like about Moritz Jenz and strong arguments to say a Celtic style of play would bring out the best in the player. He perhaps is not someone you’d say would immediately fit in without some extensive coaching, but there is an argument he could swim rather than sink if called upon to be thrown into Celtic’s team whilst Carl Starfelt recovers from injury.

There is an understandable reaction to look at this signing as a cheap option, with the majority of Celtic’s budget already having been spent. Ideally a left footed central defender would offer some extra balance to a right foot dominated defensive group, but Jenz seems comfortable enough playing on the left side of defence and with a bit of time and patience afforded to the player, there is a strong argument to say Moritz Jenz would be a good fit for Celtic, and vice versa. And with a try before you buy afforded for both sides with a loan and option to buy attached, it is certainly worth Celtic making their move.

Niall J


About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

1 Comment

  1. Hardly a Kohler or Beckenbauer.
    Seems like Van Dik wannabe.
    A solid left footed centre back who can deal with crosses and lay the ball off to our midfield is sadly lacking.
    Perhaps Ange is also good at converting pigs ears.
    At least he is only on loan and I hope he proves my fears misplaced.
    Hail Hail