It is fair to say Christopher Jullien doesn’t play as much of a pivotal role as he did in his first campaign at Celtic. Injury among others has caused the centre back’s stock to drastically fall and in this article, I’ll be examining the goods he once brought, his barren spell on the sidelines, his rather underwhelming return and finally, the dilemma Celtic face with the Frenchman come the summer.
He joined as a marquee signing in the summer of 2019 and in his first season in Hoops, Christopher Jullien enjoyed a prosperous spell.
He was brought in to replace the departing Dedryck Boyata and did so amply, striking up a congenial partnership with Kris Ajer at the heart of the Celtic defence. As well as contributing significantly at the back, Jullien also provided going forward. He developed a knack for scoring big goals in big games such as a late winner against Lazio in the Europa League, the only goal in a 1-0 League Cup Final victory over Rangers and a crucial strike which opened the floodgates in a crucial match in the 19/20 Premiership title race away to Hamilton which looked as if it wasn’t going Celtic’s way at one point.
Although the season was cut short due to Covid, Jullien still played his part in Celtic’s eventual winning of their ninth consecutive Scottish Premiership title and their fourth consecutive Scottish League Cup. All he needed to complete a treble in his first season in green and white was the Scottish Cup. The final of the 19/20 version of the competition would take place in December 2020 and despite a tentative moment in the match where Jullien collided with Shane Duffy when going for the same ball, the Bhoys came through and ended up defeating Hearts on penalties.
Jullien had achieved a domestic clean sweep in his maiden season as a Celtic player however just ten days after doing so, he attempted to prevent a Marc McNulty shot from trickling into the net in a home match against Dundee United and ended up perilously colliding with the post when doing so. Jullien was stretchered off and would spend a prolonged spell on the sidelines.
When Jullien initially sustained his injury, there were numerous claims over how long he would be out for however it ended up being a colossal fourteen months before the defender took to the field again.
A new manager had come through the door and a huge squad overhaul had taken place before Jullien returned against Raith Rovers on the 13th of February 2022. He played sixteen minutes from the bench that day however that is all he has managed under Ange Postecoglou’s management, despite being fit since January which begs the question, is Chris Jullien’s time at Celtic up?
Well, such a notion may seem slightly harsh when you consider what we spoke of earlier surrounding Jullien’s previous Celtic contributions.
However, his lack of involvement under Ange Postecoglou is certainly a cause for concern. At the minute, it is almost impossible to find a case to drop one of Cameron Carter-Vickers or Carl Starfelt with the partnership the duo have developed and should the former sign for Celtic permanently, Jullien may expect to experience a season similar to the one he’s had so far in the next one.
Moreover, the Frenchman’s failure to deal with physical strikers does frustrate many fans – just look at his performances in matches of past seasons with Kilmarnock and Livingston where the likes of Nicke Kabamba and Lyndon Dykes have caused him problems.
Come the summer, Chris Jullien also goes into the last year of his Celtic deal. Therefore, any hopes of the club have of recouping some of the £7 million fee they splashed out on him lie on a sale in the upcoming transfer window.
So, what do you think? Is Christopher Jullien a man worth having around the club who could potentially challenge for a place in the starting eleven next season or is it time for Celtic to cut their losses on the now twenty nine year old.
Whatever happens, let’s trust that it is the correct call of judgement from whoever is making it.