Why Kristoffer Ajer must stay at Celtic

By David Walton

August 6, 2019

Kristoffer Ajer’s future has been thrown up in the air over the last several days with transfer rumours.

It was only a matter of time before big clubs were at least linked with moves for our Norwegian hero. And, over the weekend, both AC Milan (TMW) and Leicester City (Scottish Sun) were both linked to the big stalwart.

Fortunately, no formal offers have come in for the defender. And thank goodness too.

Kristoffer Ajer is reportedly attracting interest (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Ajer’s departure certainly isn’t something Celtic have been preparing for. If anything, he’s one big piece of the hopeful 10-in-a-row spine. He simply can’t be sold for any money at this moment in time.

Yes, he’s our first choice centre-back. But it’s not even just that. It’s easy to just look at the big Norwegian as just a defender. But he’s so much more than that to Celtic.

At his core, he’s a towering centre-back and a classy midfielder rolled into one. His driving runs from deep have been key in the past in opening up teams who set up to park the bus. In that sense, he’s a real weapon. He opens up the space for others, and has proved at times he can waltz right through defences as well as midfields.

Ajer’s value to the cause is unquestionable (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

In addition to that, we can’t afford to lose his leadership qualities either. Ajer is a captain without the armband.

He’s an on-field leader

Often, whenever a nasty challenge has gone in, or a scuffle breaks out, Ajer is there protecting his team-mate. He shows incredible passion for the small things in football. You can see how much being there for his team-mates means to him.

He fights the Celtic cause more than many. Nobody could’ve foreseen the incredible rise of the Norwegian when he signed for us all the way back in 2016.

Losing him would see us lose a defensive stalwart, a real warrior,a leader, and a useful attacking tool. Try finding a like-for-like replacement for Ajer with our budget. It wouldn’t happen, and anyone we end up signing would most likely be a downgrade.

Aker is now an experienced internationalist (David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

As it stands, we already need one more centre-back in before the transfer window closes. Bumping that up to two would be totally unnecessary.

Sure, every player has a price at Parkhead. But the money would come with a dangerous situation that we would then be in. Christopher Jullien is still to prove himself, whilst we would only have Jozo Simunovic alongside him and nobody as reliable cover. Nir Bitton would be too dangerous to play at the back permanently.

There will be a time when it will be safe to move Ajer on to bigger and better things. But at the moment, Celtic need to fend off any interest in their star-man. At this delicate stage in Scottish football history, we need all of our top players at Parkhead.