Scout Report – Christopher Jullien, Celtic’s new signing

After days of speculation, Scottish treble winners Celtic have completed the signing of Toulouse centre-back Christopher Jullien for a fee around £7m on a four-year deal. (h/t Scottish  Sun)

In what is considered a statement signing by the Hoops, they had to make this happen, chiefly due to the vacant spot that was created by the departure of Dedryck Boyata.

In a way, Neil Lennon’s men needed a centre-back to support the likes of Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic. Credit goes to the club to keep Jullien as their top target and eventually got him ahead of a pivotal season.

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If we take the general consensus around the Parkhead into account, there is an obvious excitement regarding the completion of this deal. A reporter also mentioned Jullien’s signing in the bracket of Virgil van Dijk (h/t Football Scotland), who, at the moment, is Europe’s elite in central defence. 

While all these things are being blabbered out, let us take a look about the player in-depth in a detailed scout report:

Scout report – Christopher Jullien

Christopher Jullien is a very orthodox, old-fashioned centre-back, who is adept enough to operate on either side of the central defence. He focuses on clearing the danger first before looking to play the ball out from the back.

Mind you, he is not bad at finding out the diagonal balls to opposite-side wingers if the opposition backs off him in possession. 

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With respects to defending, the 26-year-old is a naturally aesthetic reader of the game and makes interceptions with sumptuous accuracy. He possesses a good recovery pace, which allows him to match the runs of pacy forwards and stay with them as long as possible.

Being 196cm tall, Jullien is quite evidently good in the air and doesn’t mind physical battles with the opposition centre-forwards. Furthermore, this also helps him to be a genuine threat from indirect set-pieces into the opposition box.

He joined Toulouse in the summer of 2016 and has gradually upped his game to a top-class level in the last 12-15 months. 

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If we look at his numbers from the recently-concluded season, the Frenchman made tackles and interceptions at an average of 1 and 1.2 per game. He also cleared the dangers from his own box at the rate of 5.9 and won 4.3 aerial duels per game. (Whoscored)

His pace allows him to cover a large portion of space while defending. If a full-back is caught higher up the pitch on the counter-attack, the 26-year-old is adept enough to guard a good chunk of space and his game intelligence helps him deal with the situation well.

Conclusion

All in all, it has to be said that Celtic have gotten a gem of a player at such a low price. Jullien could well be the player who makes them solid at the back not just in domestic games but also in Europe. 

We shouldn’t be surprised if, in 24 months’ time, a big club submits a bid for the Frenchman. 

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