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Celtic missing out on Croatian wonderkid Luka Ivanusec could be a blessing in disguise

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…

Dinamo Zagreb have pipped Celtic to the signing of creative midfielder Luka Ivanusec, per The Scottish Sun, but it could work out in their favour.

What’s the story?

Lokomotiv Zagreb wonderkid Ivanusec opted to remain in the city rather than make the switch to Neil Lennon’s men or Olympiakos, per the report.

It’s thought that the Celts were prepared to pay a total of £4.75m for the 20-year-old in instalments, but Dinamo’s willingness to pay a full £2.75m fee upfront swung proceedings in favour of the Croatian champions.

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The youngster impressed in the Croatian top-flight last season for Lokomotiv, setting up five goals and scoring six in his 34 appearances. He has started this season in even more scintillating fashion, scoring once and assisting two more in what could be his final three appearances for the club.

The attacking midfielder would’ve joined the likes of Ryan Christie, Olivier Ntcham, Tom Rogic and Mikey Johnston at Parkhead in vying for a starting role under Lennon.

A blow or a blessing?

The news comes in what has been a bad week for the club. Fan unrest is at its highest point in a long time thanks to the defeat to Cluj and the inefficient transfer window thus far. It may not have been the most pivotal transfer of the window, but fighting off Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos for an exciting 20 year-old might’ve helped ease some fans’ worries.

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It also shows where the club are in the European football pecking order. It wasn’t that long ago that Celtic were signing one of Dinamo Zagreb’s better players in Jozo Simunovic, so to be losing out to them now is perhaps a sign that without Champions League football the Bhoys’ appeal is greatly reduced.

While it’s not certain how interested Lennon was in the player, it’s not a great reflection on the club, who could do with a few statement signings to silence to their doubters.

However, the failed pursuit could turn out to be a blessing, and is of particular benefit to someone like Ntcham.

Signing another creative midfielder would’ve stymied his time on the park after a poor season last term, ruining absolutely any chance he has of getting back to his previous form.

The Frenchman has also been linked with a move away from the club, and one could deduce that he is more likely to stay in Glasgow after missing out on Ivanusec, and a player who has proven he can perform for the club before is surely a safer bet than a 20 year-old unknown quantity.

So, while it’s frustrating to see the club lose out on another ‘target’, it shouldn’t add to the doom and gloom at Parkhead, and could in fact be a blessing in disguise if it means Ntcham stays and puts in some of the displays we saw from him in the 2017/18 campaign.

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Article title: Celtic missing out on Croatian wonderkid Luka Ivanusec could be a blessing in disguise

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