There has been plenty of speculation this week regarding the future of both Diego Laxalt and Kris Ajer.
Both may be playing for Celtic at the moment, but the pair have a Milan connection. The former is on loan at Parkhead from the Rossoneri, whilst Ajer has consistently been linked with a move there in the past.
Over the last week, there have been reports that potential negotiations could be kicked off in the near future. Gianluca Di Marzio reported on Sunday that the two clubs could be set to discuss Laxalt’s future when they meet on December 2nd in European action.
Yesterday, Milan News journalist Antonio Vitiello claimed that Ajer could be part of the deal in a potential swap.
But we have to be extremely cautious here and realise just what we’ve got in Ajer.
There are several variables to weigh up
Had Ajer been on a long-term contract at Celtic, what would we want for his services? That’s a question that every fan would answer differently. But for me personally, I think we would be looking at the £20m as a bare minimum. Remember, we’re talking about a 22-year-old Norwegian internationalist. His age is sometimes forgotten about.
Ajer has extensive Champions League, Europa League, and international experience. Everything about him screams future Norway captain, and if he was to stay here for the long-term – a future Celtic one.
Yes, Ajer will be into the final 12 months of his contract in the summer. That affects the player’s valuation. However, it was reported by Sky in the summer that Milan only wanted a fee of around £9m for Laxalt. Take that valuation off Ajer’s price and you get around £11m for me. Considering he’s into the final year of his contract, you can again whack off another £6m-£8m.
But remember, Celtic clearly didn’t fancy the £9m figure Milan put on Laxalt in the summer. That’s a heck of a number for a left-back, and it’s difficult to see the Hoops going anywhere near that. They would look to negotiate that down.
Laxalt, after all, isn’t a big player at Milan. He’s a bench-warmer, and they’re wanting to do a straight swap for a centre-back who would go right into first-team contention at the San Siro.
To sum up, Celtic need to ensure they get a player-plus-cash deal for Ajer. This shouldn’t be a case of letting one of our most valuable assets for nothing just because he’s into the final year of his deal. We have his replacement to think about, and whilst Laxalt would be a fine addition, he on his own shouldn’t be enough to bag Milan a talent like Ajer.