Celtic centre-back Kristoffer Ajer has been advised to stay at Parkhead for “another couple of years” by former Parkhead defender Mark Wilson.
Wilson, who currently manages Brechin City, has watched Ajer grow from Parkhead outcast to key player. Ajer has been a constant under Neil Lennon this season, making 49 appearances this term alone (Transfermarkt).
However, things turned sour several weeks ago. Ajer’s agent, Tore Pedersen, claimed that the Norwegian international wouldn’t be staying with the club beyond the summer window (Daily Record). Laughably, Ajer still has over two years still remaining on his contract (Transfermarkt).
And former Celtic defender Wilson believes it would be in his best interest to stay in Glasgow for another couple of years. Speaking to the Scottish Sun, here’s what Wilson had to say:
“Ajer has been very good defensively in domestic football. In Europe I think he has found it a bit more difficult against a better quality of striker. And when you go to the Premier League in England, every team you play against has got an unbelievable strike-force.
“You wonder if he could deal with it. With Virgil van Dijk you could see right away that he had the full package up here. Virgil has never changed. I don’t even know if he has improved that much! He has just stayed the same.
“With Ajer, I think he would have to brush up certain parts of his game if he was going to be a real mainstay of a team in England. Ajer can be a bit rash at times and that would be my concern about him moving right away. Another couple of years at Celtic and playing European football, then perhaps that would be the right time to move.”
Consistency can still be a problem for Ajer
The centre-back still has his rash moments. He’ll want to make sure he has a bit less of those before he goes trying to make the step down to England or elsewhere.
Of course, Ajer could leave in the summer and comfortably play in a top league. It’s not as if every centre-back in the top leagues of world football are immense and never put a foot wrong. Even the best in the world have their moments.
However, what it’s about is giving himself the best chance to succeed and go as far as possible. If he goes to a top league as a full package, similar to Virgil van Dijk, then he could have a similar rise.
At the moment, Ajer can still be too loose with his passing. Whenever we give the ball away at the heart of the defence, it’s usually coming from the Norwegian.
He gets away with it in Scotland. Attackers here will almost always give the ball back or make a mess of the attacking opportunity. Going and playing against top sides could see any mistake punished, and that’s why Ajer needs to brush up on his use of the ball.
Showing some common sense this summer would be ideal. He has a good thing going at Celtic Park – he would be mad to just throw it away.