Partizan Belgrade defender Strahinja Pavlovic has admitted he was ‘flattered’ when he heard about rumours linking him to Celtic.
Speaking to the press following Partizan’s win over Connah’s Quay Nomads in the Europa League as Neil Lennon watched on from the stands via the Daily Record, the 18-year-old defender said he was flattered to know Celtic were there to watch him but insisted he is only focusing on the Serbian club.
Pavlovic said: “I was flattered when I heard about Celtic watching me in Wales. But for me, I have to only concentrate on my immediate future and that’s at Partizan.
“I’ve got to think I will be at this club for a long time. I can’t afford to get caught up in speculation before the next transfer window.”
With Juventus also reportedly interested in Pavlovic (per Goal), Celtic seemingly face tough competition for the highly-rated 18-year-old, who was named in the 80-man shortlist for the annual Golden Boy award (per Tuttosport), but the Partizan defender’s aforementioned comments could prove to be something that gives the Scottish side an edge.
With a Transfermarkt valuation of £1.8m, Pavlovic is seemingly a player Celtic can afford this summer, especially with the Daily Mail recently reporting that Kieran Tierney’s £25m move to Arsenal is inching closer, and Neill Lennon would be smart to reinvest some of that money into signing the Serbian defender.
Since breaking into the Partizan first-team last season, Pavlovic has gone on to make 17 appearances for the Serbian side, earning seven clean sheets as stats from Transfermarkt show.
As well as a decent amount of experience at senior level and having a clean sheet record of 40%-per-match, the defender’s 6’4” frame makes him a physical presence in the backline, with Kristoffer Ajer and new signing Christopher Jullien the only players in the entire Celtic squad taller than Pavlovic.
With only one central defender under the age of 23 in the first-team squad (per Transfermarkt), Lennon would be smart to look towards the future and use this summer as a platform to secure players for the years down the line, and Pavlovic could be a player that fits this bill perfectly.
Celtic can also make a big statement on the continent if they are to beat out the likes of Juventus for the defender, and with the club in line to receive a big payday in the form of Tierney’s departure, Lennon could have the financial power to make a deal possible.
Celtic fans, would Pavlovic be a good signing? Let us know!
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