Barcelona is yet to find a solution for their worries at right-back. They tried different options over the past few years, playing players out of position to fill in that role. However, none of them have worked for them. One of the main agendas of Xavi and Barcelona in the transfer window is signing a good right-back, and a new name seems to have come to their attention. Josip Juranovic from Celtic, who had a stellar World Cup with Croatia, has caught their eye. According to rumours, Barcelona wants to sign the 27-year-old in January. With the economic situation they are in, it becomes difficult for them to go for a high-profile signing. Therefore, this seems like a move that could work for them, at least in the short term. So we look at some of his stats to understand why the La Liga table-toppers shouldn’t hesitate to sign the Croatian right-back.
Josip Juranovic has made eight appearances this season, starting in all of them. He has scored a goal and assisted one in the Scottish Premiership. He also had an impressive World Cup, where he played a crucial role as the right back and bagged one assist.
The above visual shows the percentile rank of Josip Juranovic compared to other right-backs in the Scottish Premiership. He has good passing and attacking stats. But his defensive stats are a bit worrying for a defender. He is ranked in the top 93.3 percentile for passing accuracy and the top 80 percentile for passes per 90. The 27-year-old is an attacking full-back and is ranked in the top 86.6 percentile for shots per 90. But the major worry is his poor defensive stats. His defensive stats according to the pizza chart, are below average, and some are not even in the top ten percentile. That could prove to be a deal breaker, as the Catalan club is certainly looking for someone who can defend well.
The above visual shows the defensive territory of Josip Juranovic. We can observe from the visual how he likes to get forward and contribute to the attacking play. But his defensive stats are a bit worrying and not among the best. He makes around 3.54 defensive duels per game with 56.7% success and 1.18 aerial duels with 40% success. Apart from these, Juranovic makes around 3.42 interceptions per game and recovers the ball seven times, with 33% of them in the attacking half.
However, he did a better job for Croatia in the World Cup. He made 5.21 defensive duels per game and won 63.2% of them, and 1.65 aerial duels, winning 33% of them. His interceptions also went up in the World Cup, to 5.08 per game. Moreover, he also made around 8.23 recoveries per game.
Accurate passing is one of the most important parameters that Barcelona’s coach and the board look at before signing a player. It is safe to say that Juranovic qualifies for the test under that criteria. He is ranked in the top 93.3 percentile for accurate passes in the Scottish Premiership and has a passing accuracy of 84.6%. Juranovic has made 7.67 passes into the final third with a 72.3% success rate and 3.77 passes into the penalty box with a 59.4% success rate. He is also capable of playing the long diagonal ball and makes around 3.66 long passes per game with a 67.7% success rate. Barcelona wants a right-back who can pass the ball well, and Juranovic does it pretty neatly.
Excellent when overlapping
Juranovic is an attacking full-back and therefore gets forward a lot. He is good at combination play and can dribble fairly well. Juranovic is fast and makes some quick movements down the right flank. He has greatly aided Celtic’s attack by playing numerous cutbacks and crosses into the box. The 27-year-old has averaged 2.83 crosses per game with a 50% success rate. As we can see from the above visual, he sometimes takes on defenders himself and goes into the box, averaging 1.06 touches in the penalty box and making around 3.3 offensive duels per game. This can help Barcelona a lot going forward.
Compared to last season, Juranovic has gone slightly down defensively for Celtic in the Scottish Premiership. Last season, he made around 5.18 defensive duels, winning 62.3% of them. His stats for aerial duels were also better than this season, as he made an average of 1.55 aerial duels per game, winning 39.5% of them. Juranovic made an average of 3.83 interceptions and recovered the ball more than eight times per game. Even though his stats have seen a dip in the Premiership, his form in the World Cup should be encouraging for Barcelona.
Can Juranovic guard the right-back position better?
The above radar compares the radars of Josip Juranovic and Hector Bellerin. While the former has better stats in almost all attacking and passing stats, his defensive stats still get highlighted as not good enough. Hector Bellerin has better stats defensively, and Barcelona isn’t happy with his performance. So the question arises if he can defend better than the existing players at right-back for Barcelona.
Josip Juranovic suddenly came into the spotlight after a brilliant World Cup campaign with Croatia. His assured presence as the right-back was crucial for their wins, especially against Brazil, where he stopped Vinicius Jr. from causing trouble. But his defensive record does stand in the way of Barcelona signing him. While whether Xavi will decide to sign him or not is still unclear, there is no doubt that Juranovic will provide a lot of help on the attacking side. If he manages to pull off the same defensive performance as he did in the World Cup, then he could see himself playing for Barcelona very soon.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine