Former Kilmarnock boss Lee Clark has claimed that Celtic stars Kristoffer Ajer and Greg Taylor were part of a £100m quartet.
Sean Longstaff of Newcastle United and Freddie Woodman of Swansea City also spent time at Kilmarnock. According to Clark, the four would fetch astronomical fees today.
Clark, who spent almost exactly a year at Rugby Park, made some astute loan signings. Ajer converted from a defensive midfielder to a centre-back at Killie. Taylor, meanwhile, was a home-grown talent who ended up helping Kilmarnock through the pandemic [Daily Record].
In an exclusive interview with Ben Banks of Not The Old Firm, Clark said:
“I gave Greg Taylor his chance and the rest is history. He’s become a full international, he’s playing for Celtic and that proved to be the right thing to do. It allowed me to see him in first-team football. He had the ability and mentality.
“There were a lot of loans and some of them have proven since then that they are top players.
“Some of them ruffled a few feathers, especially the Freddie Woodman one. We had Jamie MacDonald who had been in Scotland for a long time but it doesn’t matter the situation. If you have a chance to make your team better, you should never turn it down.
“Woodman was a World Cup U20s winner, he’s doing so well for Swansea City now, and lots of Premier League clubs are after him. He improved the goalkeeping department, whereas Sean Longstaff and Kristoffer Ajer were instrumental.
“We did some great deals. You could be pushing that £100 million mark [for the players mentioned] without a doubt. We had a high-success rate, you won’t get 100% in the market we are in. There were plenty of positives.”
Celtic stars Kristoffer Ajer and Greg Taylor have benefitted from Killie experience, but £100m…?
Lee Clark’s comments might sound outlandish on first read. Given that Celtic want a reported £35m for Kristoffer Ajer, though, it’s hard to discredit the current Al-Merrikh SC boss entirely, though.
It’s a fascinating interview, and shows, to Kilmarnock’s credit, how many talented players have passed through Rugby Park over the years.
Greg Taylor took a while to get going at Celtic, but he’s since become an under-appreciated mainstay at the club. Whether he’d be part of a £100m quartet is largely dependent, though, on how much the other three are worth in this hypothetical scenario.
Ajer, meanwhile, is a full Norway international and has caught the glances of Newcastle United and AC Milan, amongst others.
Given the absolute hammering our players have (rightly) taken this season, some positivity is more than welcome. Even if it’s via an ex-Killie boss, we’ll take it.
Along with £100m for Kristoffer Ajer and Greg Taylor, if you like.