Celtic boss Neil Lennon has stated that he’s had a one-to-one chat with Kristoffer Ajer over recent speculation, and has confirmed he’ll definitely start tomorrow night in Riga.
Ajer has been linked with a move to AC Milan throughout the summer. The latest development was reported by Sky Italia this week, who believes the San Siro outfit have made Schalke’s Matija Nastasic their new number one defensive target.
Norwegian Ajer has only been benched on two occasions this season out of nine matches. However, despite the rumours, the player is in a good mindset and ready to start tomorrow in Latvia.
Lennon moved to confirm that no official bids have come in for his young asset either, as he bigged up his professsionalism.
Speaking at his pre-match conference on Celtic TV, Lennon said: “He is very focused. He will start tomorrow and he’s looking forward to the game. You can’t control speculation.
“Like I’ve said as always, there’s been no concrete offers, no confirmation of anything. And we don’t want to sell him. He’s in a good place mentally. I spoke to him about it yesterday and I’m there as support for him. It can sometimes be a very distracting situation he finds himself in.
“So he’s getting all the support he can from myself, the backroom team, and his team-mates.”
Ajer has always been the consummate professional
Going back to the start of the season, there’s never been any reason for us to be concerned about Ajer’s performance levels. Milan may have long been linked with a move for him, but he still looks as committed as ever in a Celtic jersey.
Regardless of whether he wants a move away or not, it hasn’t affected his game. He knows that, regardless of where he sees his future, the only way to keep on building his reputation is via good performances.
And that perhaps matters on the European stage more than anywhere. Okay, so it’s only the Europa League third qualifying round, but that doesn’t matter. Another impressive display against Riga and it’s a nice building block and allows him the chance to potentially showcase his talents in front of interested parties in later stages of the competition.
He’s always had areas of his game in which he’s needed to improve on, but he’s only 22 at the end of the day. Show me a 22-year-old footballer who has no room for improvement.
Ajer’s long-term future we all hope will be in Glasgow, but the main thing is he continues to perform for the club until we accept an offer deemed suitable for suitors to talk to him.
So far, Lennon has confirmed that there’s nothing like that to even look at as of yet. That’s good news for us, and even better news that Ajer’s full focus remains on doing a job in green-and-white.