Stats industry leader and former Brentford analyst praises Celtic for developing Ajer
Former Brentford analyst and StatsBomb CEO Ted Knutson has praised Celtic for how they developed Kristoffer Ajer.
Knutson, who worked as a data analyst for both Brentford and our Champions League opponents FC Midtjylland, has said that the Bees have been following Ajer for years.
The big Norwegian defender has been on their radar since he was playing for IK Start. However, they were unconvinced he had the physical tools to play in the Championship as a midfielder.
Celtic converted Kristoffer Ajer to a centre-back, with the help of Kilmarnock, who took him on loan in 2017. The club also focused on bulking Ajer’s slight frame.
The Ajer deal for Brentford is one that hearkens back to how long clubs can follow guys.— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) July 22, 2021
We did a ton of work on him when he was at Start (as a midfielder), but were worried about his strength at that time in the Champ.
Celtic put him in the weight room + moved him to CB.
He's always been a great passer because of all that time in the centre of the pitch, and being in a strong team like Celtic afforded him some space to learn to read+react to the physical battles of the CB role.— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) July 22, 2021
PL football may be hard initially, but he has so many skills.
Celtic praised for developing Ajer, have made significant profit
If the plan was to develop Ajer into a very useful player, and move him on for serious money, then his story is clearly a Celtic success.
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While it might feel a little hollow, there’s plenty to be positive about here. Kristoffer Ajer always had Premier League ambitions, and he was going to leave the club sooner or later.
Giving the Norwegian the tools and physicality to become a Norway regular, and then move him on for £13.5m [Daily Mail] on the last year of his contract is extremely decent business.
Yes, it might feel as if we’re simply developing players to prosper elsewhere, but we had at least 3 great seasons of service from the now 23-year-old. There doesn’t seem to be any ill-will towards Ajer for moving on, and the buy-low-sell-high model is continuing in earnest.
How he gets on at Brentford, who are recruiting smartly ahead of their maiden Premier League season, will be fascinating to watch.