Celtic will only lose more players if chaos continues

By Euan Davidson

June 4, 2021

Whether you’re pro or anti-Kristoffer Ajer, you couldn’t reasonably argue he hasn’t been a key player for Celtic.

Behind Callum McGregor, the big Norwegian played the most Bhoys minutes in 20-21 [WhoScored?]. And while our defence was generally awful, it could’ve been far worse without the Norway international in the back-line.

Yet, quelle surprise, Ajer has told VG journalist Arilas Ould-Saada that he wants to leave this summer. Ajer’s ambitions go beyond a Celtic team in disarray, it seems, and with just a year left on his contract, the timing seems right for all parties.

I’m a big Kristoffer Ajer fan. In truth, I’ve probably defended him with more intensity than he defends set-pieces. Like many others, I firmly believe that if he improves aerially, and gains more experience as a centre-back, his ball-playing abilities, tackling and tactical nous can make him a stand-out defender in a top league. Not everyone is of that opinion, and some will even be happy to see him go.

Whatever the case may as regards your opinion on Ajer, you can’t really blame him for admitting he’s looking elsewhere. This isn’t the club he joined. When Kristoffer Ajer arrived at Celtic, there were kernels of ambition. The club’s reputation was excellent, and at the very least, under Ronny Deila, there was some kind of forward momentum.

That is profoundly no longer the case.

KT, Ajer and Broony: all away / (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Kristoffer Ajer clearly won’t be the last big name to leave Celtic this summer

If you were mere weeks away from returning to pre-season, and your club had failed to land its top managerial target, you’d surely be looking elsewhere, too. Beyond just the manager, it’s unclear who you’d be playing with and who’s actually running the club.

It’s a mess. And it’s very likely it’ll get worse before it gets better. Big names like Ajer, Odsonne Edouard, Ryan Christie and more will surely depart if the rot goes untreated. What’s scarier is that this was inevitable in a sense, but there’s nothing being done – as far as we can tell – to replace these mainstays of the last few seasons.

Look at the Scott Brown situation; unless Celtic have enormous faith in Ismaila Soro, the club have known of our captain’s intentions for months and not suitably replaced him. While yes, deals for Liam Shaw and supposedly Joey Dawson have been agreed, there’s nothing for supporters to really get excited about.

How the mighty have fallen. The club needs to stem the bleed urgently, by bringing in replacements for our outgoing stars, because there will be more departures and make no mistake. Except, without a boss in place, that process will only drag on and on.

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