Celtic’s Albian Ajeti has been given a firm warning by Ramon Vega ahead of the summer after a dismal debut campaign.
Ajeti was signed to the tune of £5million in the summer from West Ham United [Sky Sports]. However, despite netting five goals in six Premiership starts, his season has gone downhill rapidly.
The Swiss forward has only bagged one goal in six months. In addition to that, he’s struggled with his fitness and has found himself regularly out of the team. He’s failed to start five of the last six matches, and even found himself bumped out of the matchday squad for the visit of Rangers.
And Vega has given Ajeti a big warning about his long-term future. The importance of the next few weeks have been stressed to the Swiss forward, and ex-Celt Vega believes it’s already make or break time.
“It will be difficult for him”
As quoted by the Daily Record, Vega said: “He has missed the opportunity so far to show himself as the one who is able to be the main striker for the club. He now has to do it. He has to perform because that is the situation that he has placed himself into. If he does that, he can still justify that he is good enough for Celtic.
“It will be difficult for him, but I hope that he can do it and it is going to take an enormous effort. At this moment, it doesn’t seem to be going in his direction and he has to change that. This is now a vital time for everyone. Winning the league has gone, there’s a gap to be bridged and it’s now about the motivations until the end of the season and what is the future going to look like.
“I’m sure the squad is being analysed as regards who will be kept, who are they going to get, who will be going. Things are going to change at the club and Ajeti has a chance now to show he should stay. There is a chance for him to build momentum and show himself. To show why he was bought.”
Celtic’s Albian Ajeti likely going nowhere, regardless of how next few weeks go
You can understand the emotion behind Vega’s point. Everyone will feel they may be fighting for their future ahead of the new manager coming in. But at the end of the day, contracts often have the loudest voice.
When Ajeti signed last summer, he tied himself to Parkhead until the summer of 2024. Celtic can’t just drop him because of a poor season. There needs to be heavy interest first and foremost and then there will need to be an offer deemed acceptable for his services. Given we splashed out £5m on him, you can’t see clubs coming close to that amount.
Celtic, therefore, would be better just keeping him. And that’s regardless of how he performs over the next two months. The simple reason being that we don’t know just how big a new manager could be for the player. It could be the case that he finds a new lease of life. You see it happening so often in football when managerial change occurs.
There’s nothing to suggest Ajeti cannot be a beneficiary of that too. Granted, scoring some goals between now and the summer would perhaps help him get chances earlier. But can you honestly see him not being involved in pre-season if he fails to score between now and the summer?
Of course he will. He’ll be given a chance to impress just like everyone else will. Leigh Griffiths will likely be the same along with fellow strike rival Patryk Klimala. If Odsonne Edouard departs, the new man won’t want to lose any more strikers until he’s analysed them.
The next two months aren’t colossal for Ajeti, but impressing in them could give his reputation a much-needed boost.