AC Milan will only move for Celtic centre-back Kristoffer Ajer if they fail to land Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic, according to popular Italian outlet Corriere della Sera.
The newspaper believes that Milan are looking to try and sign Milenkovic one more time after previous struggles with the Florence outfit.
However, Corriere della Sera also states the stumbling block is the fact that Fiorentina won’t lower their valuation of Milenkovic from €40million (£36.6m).
The report says that centre-back is Milan’s main priority this summer when it comes to strengthening their squad. But it would appear that Ajer isn’t the San Siro outfit’s first-choice target.
Serbian Milenkovic’s future, then, could play a big part in whether the Serie A giants move for the Celtic man. Any move for him to AC would surely end any interest in Celtic’s towering Norwegian.
Lennon has made his thoughts clear
Interestingly, Corriere della Sera believe Celtic would be willing to do a deal for €16m (£14.7m). However, that totally goes against Neil Lennon’s comments on the matter yesterday.
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Speaking to BBC Scotland after Celtic’s 3-2 win over Livingston at Parkhead on Saturday, Lennon said there had been no bids for Ajer before ending with: “I’m not sure that £14m would cut it anyway.”
Therefore, if Ajer is indeed being viewed as an alternative, he won’t come cheaply for the Serie A side. They’ll still have to splash the cash, even if it won’t be as high an offer as Serbian international Milenkovic is rated.
Celtic currently have six centre-back options at the club. As well as Ajer, the Hoops have Christopher Jullien, Shane Duffy, Nir Bitton, Hatem Elhamed, and Stephen Welsh respectively. Therefore, there would perhaps be sufficient cover there if Celtic chose to let Ajer depart.
But it wouldn’t put us in a good position if we found ourselves wanting to add to our back-line after Ajer’s departure. Clubs would be aware of Celtic’s urgent need for another defender, and that matters in negotiations.
So there is plenty to weigh up if Milan fail to sign Milenkovic and end up turning their attentions to our man. One thing’s for sure, however, they shouldn’t expect to nab him on the cheap.