Hajduk Split would be willing to let Jani Atanasov join Ange Postecoglou’s Scottish Premiership champions though Celtic are yet to step up their interest in the midfielder, as reported by Slobodna Dalmacija.
Celtic have more than enough ball-players. Whether Postecoglou need a ball-winner, however, is up for debate. And, in truth, we might not have an answer until the transfer window closes, with Rangers, Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk looming on the horizon.
With all due respect to Dundee United, Kilmarnock and Ross County, Celtic can afford to stroll through most domestic fixtures without an out-and-out defensive midfielder in their starting XI. The fact that Postecoglou preferred the string-pulling Callum McGregor over the scrapping Nir Bitton throughout most of last season tells it’s own story.
“Nah, it’s not my style. Our role is to dominate games in a collective sense,” Postecoglou told the Daily Mail in July when asked if his midfield needed an injection of physical strength.
“When we are playing our football, we don’t need to rely on that side of the game. We have players who can be physical in their own way.”
Do Celtic need Jani Atanasov?
But the prospect of taking on Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and co without a midfielder who specialises in breaking up play and shielding his own penalty area may put beads on the brow of even the most optimistic of Celtic supporters.
The Glasgow giants have a decision to make regarding Jani Atanasov, then, between now and this week’s transfer deadline. According to Sky Sports, Celtic hold an interest in the 6ft 2ins Macedonia international.
Croatian publication SD, however, insist that no offers have been forthcoming from Parkhead just yet. Hajduk Split are, though, willing to sell. Atanasov has lost his place in the XI, after all; starting just two out of a possible nine games this season and none of Hajduk’s UEFA Conference League qualifiers. They already have a readymade replacement too, in Australian Anthony Kalik.
Atanasov, powerful, physical and a giant of a man, would give Celtic something they don’t currently have. Something, you might argue, they need if the Hoops are to give Real Madrid a run for their money and keep one of Europe’s most feared frontlines at arms’ length.