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Manchester United: Ten Hag could sign the next Rafael in Josip Juranovic

Manchester United are maintaining their interest in Celtic’s Croatian World Cup star Josip Juranovic, who could arrive in the coming weeks…

What’s the talk?

Having expressed an interest in the European ace’s services last year, with the Daily Mail reporting that manager Erik ten Hag’s interest stretches back to the start of the current campaign, the Croatian is a player of interest again.

Indeed, according to Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth (live transfer blog, 10.01.22, 16.02), the Red Devils are continuing to keep tabs on the full-back amid speculation over Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s future at the club.

Recent reports have stated that he could be available at a bargain price of just £7m, a meagre sum of money for a club of United’s statute.

Juranovic dazzled for Croatia at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and should the cogs fall into place, the Premier League giants would wield a fresh dynamo to bolster the pursuit of major silverware over the latter period of the campaign. 

“Unbelievable”

The Croat has been a regular presence on the Celtic starting team sheet since his £2.5m move from Legia Warsaw in the summer of 2021.

He has forged a total of 51 appearances for the Hoops, clinching six goals and providing three assists, winning the Scottish Premiership and League Cup last year.

Is Juranovic an Wan-Bissaka upgrade?

Yes

Yes

No

No

This season, he has not quite been at the races in Glasgow, only scoring one goal and assist apiece from nine league displays despite his outfit’s momentous form, but his arresting performances with his nation and his stellar offensive work last season are solid indications of the player’s capabilities.

However, as per Sofascore, his impressive 7.19 rating in the division this season has affirmed his talent despite the dip in direct offensive contribution, with his 1.0 strikes and 1.4 key passes per match likely to be maintained should he move to Old Trafford.

And at the World Cup, an average score of 7.13 continued the conversation surrounding his aptitude as a top-class right-back, with his all-encompassing displays integral in pushing Croatia towards another fantastic finish on the world stage.

Should Ten Hag succeed in bringing the 27-cap ace to the Theatre of Dreams, United would welcome another star in the mould of beloved former full-back Rafael.

A cult figure within the Red Devil fanbase, the Brazilian Rafael made 170 appearances for Man United, scoring five goals and assisting 15 more, winning multiple trophies including three Premier League triumphs.

Having chalked up a laudable average career rating of 6.99 – as per Whoscored – and maintaining a pass success rate of 81.7%, Rafael boasts the requisite assurance and composure to flourish as a steady presence at any top European outfit.

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That level of composure and security in possession of the ball is something seen in Juranovic’s game too, with the Celtic full-back chalking up a similar pass success rate of 84.6% in the SPFL this term.

When it comes to bursting forward, they are also alike with Rafael’s career-best 0.8 key passes per game from the 2009/10 campaign very close to Juranovic’s career average of 1.2 a match. They both marry that with the ability to beat a man too, registering 0.9 and 0.6 dribbles an outing respectively.

Hailed as “unbelievable” by William Gallas, Juranovic certainly boasts the consistency and refined aura to prosper in this ambitious United team, and Ten Hag must waste no time in swooping.