Celtic fans were dealt a blow today with the news that Norwegian centre-half, Kristoffer Ajer, is looking to leave the club in the summer, according to his agent, and as reported in The Daily Record.
The 21-year-old international still has two years left to run on his contract, but despite this, Tore Pedersen has been very specific about the intientions of his client:
“He will not extend his contract with Celtic and will leave this summer.”
“There are several clubs who are interested, but I can’t go into their names. There are many who have followed him for a long period.”
“There are also clubs who would like to have him, but who cannot afford it. There is generally great interest in Kristoffer.”
This contradicts the statement the giant stopper made in January when he was being linked with a £20million potential move to the Premier League with former Manager, Brendan Rodgers, keen to be re-united with him at Leicester City:
“I’m really happy now, I’ve got two and a half years at Celtic and I’m happy with it. I love playing for Celtic.”
All talk of contracts is between my agent and the club and I’m just concentrated on day-to-day work and trying to be the best footballer I can.”
Ajer is far from the finished article but his ability on the ball and aerial prowess mark him out as the template for a modern centre-half, he is quick across the ground but still has to learn when to commit and when to stand-off, but will no doubt perfect this in time.
Should Celtic cash in on Ajer?
Ronny Deila signed Ajer for free in 2016 as a fresh faced 17-year-old and he has shown that he can play in a few different positions due to how comfortable he is in possession, although he seems happiest in a back three which gives them the added protection to move out of defence and contribute to the attack.
He has four goals this season and has made 129 appearances since joining from IK Start and is now one of the first names on the team sheet although a transfer fee upwards of the £15m quoted earlier in the season would be tempting for the Celtic board, especially if it was closer to the £25m received for Kieran Tierney.